Mohamed Salah’s focus will not be affected by Egyptian FA dispute, says Klopp

• Liverpool manager confident star striker will rise above row
• ‘He wants to play for his country and he wants to play for us‘

Jürgen Klopp is confident Mohamed Salah’s row with Egypt’s football association will not affect his focus at Liverpool or commitment to the national team.

The Liverpool manager talked with Salah about the his dispute with the EFA over security and image rights, which resurfaced this week when the forward outlined his concerns over Egypt’s World Cup preparations. Klopp does not believe the controversy will distract Salah on the pitch, or prompt him to quit international football, but admits the dispute needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency.

“I’m not worried about his focus, because I spoke to him,” he said. “I can’t see that [affecting his club form] at the moment. It’s 100% clear – he wants to play for his country from his heart and he wants to play for us. The rest is … you have to sort it and they have to sort it. When was the last time Egypt had a player like him? They need to get used to it. So far, maybe it was not perfect. Make it perfect, and then everything will be fine in the end.”

Salah has scored twice in Liverpool’s 100% start to the Premier League campaign and Klopp believes his star man is playing with more confidence than 12 months ago. Klopp, whose side travel to Leicester on Saturday, said: “He’s a very smart person, very smart. He’s not a kid any more and he doesn’t expect that everything will be at the highest level all the time. If it is not like that any more then he will dig deep. He is completely settled. We spoke about everything and he is completely fine.

“He’s not thinking about the end of the season and he has no number [of goals] in his mind. Last season he didn’t think: ‘Let’s score a new record’; it was only ever: ‘Let’s score goals, let’s play football.’ To me he looks exactly the same again only with more confidence because now he knows it’s possible. But that is the only change.”

Contributor

Andy Hunter

The GuardianTramp

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