Klopp defends Salah over diving claims

Ahmad Hassan, Monday 31 Dec 2018

Mohamed Salah
Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring their second goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on December 26, 2018 (Photo: AFP)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended his team’s talisman Mohamed Salah over simulation charges.

“Do we need blood for a proper penalty? I think no,” Klopp said after his side’s match against Arsenal on Saturday.

Salah has won penalties in Liverpool’s last two Premier League games, against Newcastle and Arsenal.

The 26-year-old winger fell to the ground after minimal contact with Newcastle defender Paul Dummett, winning a penalty from which he scored the second goal in Liverpool's 4-0 victory at Anfield on Wednesday.

"The soft penalty in the game made the difference, we were in the game at 1-0 at half-time, but when we conceded the second goal it was more difficult for us to react against a very good team,” Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez said of the controversial penalty.

After reviewing the incident footage, the FA decided to take no action against the Egypt international, concluding that the incident did not fit the definition of deception of a match official.

Salah once again had to face charges that he had exaggerated a fall after winning a penalty in Liverpool’s big 5-1 win against Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday.

Salah went down following a tackle from Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who went up to Salah after the half-time whistle and accused him of simulation.

“He went to Mo and was saying he dived. He was attacking him a bit but I wanted to say he didn’t dive,” team captain Virgil van Dijk commented on the incident.

Klopp stressed that defenders realise the risk of letting Salah pass and for this reason they are always under the pressure of having to stop him.

“In that moment, if you don’t touch Mo and he makes the next step and shoots – and we know he’s pretty good at that,” Klopp said.

Liverpool are currently first in the Premier League table with 54 points, seven ahead of defending champions Manchester City, who will be hopping to diminish their gap with Liverpool when they receive the Merseysiders at Etihad on Thursday.

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