Liverpool's Mohamed Salah 'probably most attacked player in Premier League' - Jurgen Klopp

Posted Sunday, April 29, 2018 by ESPN

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah 'probably most attacked player in Premier League' - Jurgen Klopp
Mohamed Salah reacts after a tackle during Liverpool's Premier League game against Stoke.
Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp claimed Mohamed Salah was "probably the most attacked player in the Premier League" after the Egyptian failed to score in Liverpool's goalless draw with Stoke City on Saturday.

Salah, who has 31 league goals this campaign, missed out on the chance to become the highest-ever scorer in a 38-game Premier League season as he was thwarted by a physical defensive performance from Paul Lambert's side at Anfield.

It was the first home league game since Boxing Day that the forward had started and not found himself on the scoresheet.

When asked at a news conference if he thought Salah deserved more protection from referees or needed to become adjusted to such physicality, Klopp said: "He is used to that.

"How can you think so far he was not physically attacked? There are rules. It has nothing to do with how you play.

"Mo Salah is probably the most attacked player in the Premier League, so he always has to deal with that. He doesn't have to learn.

"I'm not responsible for judging the rules, that's the ref. If he still thinks that's still OK and still wants to set that level, I cannot change it.

"Whatever I say causes us only problems. Whatever you think, write it again. Don't make the stories with what I say. If I say he is too harshly attacked then imagine the nice headlines you make.

"There is not a grey area. It's football, it's physical -- no problem with that. For all the boys, they are used to that. If it's too much -- free kick, red card, yellow card. There are a lot of things that you can do. I cannot change that."

Following last weekend's 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool were held by a relegation-threatened Premier League side for the second week running, meaning Champions League qualification for the next season is yet to be secured.

"Frustrating? I'm not sure, it is how football can be," Klopp added, when asked about the result. "We met Stoke in the moment when they thought a point could be enough [to stay up] still otherwise they had to play different, but if they think they can win the next two games and have a chance with that then we cannot change that opinion.

"We were obviously in charge of the game but not brilliant, but that's normal in that situation. So at the end it's not the best day of my life but I had for sure worse days. Let's take it like this, let's recover and go to Rome."

Liverpool were incensed late on when the officials waved away their appeals for a penalty late on after Georginio Wijnaldum's cross appeared to strike the hand of Erik Pieters.

"I think they're going to ask for it because they're at that Kop end," Lambert told a news conference. "The ball travels 30 yards -- that's not a penalty.

"If that's what they're moaning about then, my God, we're all in trouble. If that was given then maybe I'd have walked away. That's never a penalty.

"We came here and had a fantastic game against a team that's got one foot in the Champions League final, has been scoring for fun and has one of the best players in Europe at the minute.

"They handled everything that was thrown at us and we might have sneaked it. The performance of the team was outstanding. I couldn't ask for anymore."

Meanwhile, Klopp revealed Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez all picked up knocks during the Stoke game.

However, Sadio Mane, who was not part of the matchday squad on Saturday, is "fine" for Wednesday's Champions League semifinal second leg at Roma, according to the Liverpool manager.

"Trent Alexander-Arnold has a dead leg," Klopp said. "He was limping from that moment on. Since three minutes, not perfect.

"I met the doc and we will see what happens in the next few games. Like it is always after a game, you have knocks here and there.

"Hendo obviously twisted his ankle but could carry on. So that's a good rather than bad sign. But until Wednesday is not the longest break, so we will see.

"Joe obviously got an early knock as well and twisted his ankle as well a little bit. We have to see about that. I'm not sure, we will see. Sadio did not play, so he will be fine."

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