Klopp details Gerrard chat after Liverpool beat Aston Villa
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Steven Gerrard may have returned, but Mohamed Salah was the Liverpool legend who stole the headlines. Jurgen Klopp’s Egyptian magician ruined Gerrard’s Anfield homecoming, as his impeccably accurate penalty was enough to seal a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa.
While the standing ovation Gerrard received from the Liverpool faithful will linger in the memories more than the match itself, a fascinating moment in the closing stages of the contest perfectly encapsulated Salah’s irresistibility.
After Fabinho masterfully intercepted a limp pass from Emiliano Buendia, Salah drifted into a huge space between Douglas Luiz and Matty Cash.
Eagle-eyed viewers would have spotted a stranded Ezri Konsa, drop his head in horror, before desperately trying to catch up with the former Chelsea winger.
The chance culminated in Diogo Jota wastefully lofting an effort over the bar, but the damage had already been done.
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If Salah and his representatives spotted the very moment resignation and defeat coursed through Konsa’s veins, and they do not show the footage to the Liverpool board during contract discussions, then they have missed a trick.
Salah was 40 yards to goal, yet Konsa efforts to chase the onrushing Egyptian were more out of hopeful desperation than expectancy.
And the level of panic and defeatism Salah instils in opposition defences when a corridor to goals opens in front of him, is the very reason why he is currently, as Gerrard believes, the best player in the world.
“Mohamed Salah is 100 per-cent the best player in the world now,” the Aston Villa manager said in his press conference before the game.
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Gerrard knows a thing or two about carrying and dragging Liverpool sides to victory, and Salah is doing just that.
It does not matter whether he is surrounded by academy prospects as he was in the 2-1 away victory against AC Milan, or amongst Klopp’s strongest side – Salah always seems to find the net.
One could not fathom to imagine the pure havoc Gerrard would have inflicted had Salah been the man running onto his often-immaculate passes.
Yet it does not matter who is alongside or behind Salah, he can, and probably will, turn the screw in almost every single match he plays.
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And that is why Liverpool need to thrash out an agreement with the forward as fast as they possibly can.
While clubs will be scouring the January transfer market in the New Year to find a bargain or two, the Reds’ focus must be on Salah’s contractual situation.
The 29-year-old has already made it very clear he wants to commit his future to Anfield, and Klopp’s side cannot afford to let his enthusiasm dwindle.
“If you ask me, I would love to stay until the last day of my football career, but I can’t say much about that – it’s not in my hands,” Salah said in an interview with Sky Sports.
“It’s hard, I don’t want to talk about it, but it would make me really sad.
“At the moment I don’t see myself playing against Liverpool but let’s see what will happen in the future.”
Liverpool are lucky that Barcelona’s financial issues and Real Madrid’s obsession with Kylian Mbappe has kept Salah away from their prying eyes.
Nevertheless, complacency cannot be allowed to set in with 18 months left on his contract, otherwise Salah could one day depart the very Anfield throne Gerrard used to occupy.
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