Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp reacts (Photo: Reuters)
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp is confident that the performance of Egyptian star Mohamed Salah won't be affected by his recent dispute with his country's football association, insisting that the forward has more confidence this season.
“I’m not worried about his focus, because I spoke to him,” said Klopp, as quoted by the Guardian on Friday.
A verbal jousting stirred up last week between the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) and Salah's agent and lawyer, Ramy Abbas, over the latter's demands for the Pharaohs star.
Salah's agent sent a list of seven demands, which included the presence of two security guards to be with Salah when on international duty.
He also said no one should be allowed to ask Salah for photographs and that his client "will not be expected to be made available for any promotional appearances, interviews, meets and greets, sponsor events, official visits, VIP visits, picture sessions, or anything else, by anyone on behalf of the EFA."
Abbas threatened the officials to demand for their resignation if his client’s requests were not met. Another dispute between both sides erupted earlier this year regarding a violation of Salah’s image rights by the EFA.
The EFA issued a statement shortly after criticizing Salah’s agent for his role in the recent crisis and threatened to take legal action against him should he continue with an escalation of the situation.
Following these developments, the Liverpool winger released a video on Monday on his official Facebook page to "clarify everything to the people". Salah denied asking for preferential treatment, defending his agent.
“I can’t see that [affecting his club form] at the moment. It’s 100 percent clear – he wants to play for his country from his heart and he wants to play for us," Klopp further explained.
"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," the Liverpool coach added.
Salah, who scored two goals for Egypt at the World Cup finals in two appearances against Russia and Saudi Arabia, has been included in a 13-man foreign-based players list for the upcoming match against Niger in the 2019 African Nations Cup qualifiers on 8 September.
On the club level, Salah scored twice in Liverpool's three Premier League matches so far and Klopp believes better is yet to come from his star.
“He’s a very smart person, very smart. He’s not a kid anymore and he doesn’t expect that everything will be at the highest level all the time. If it is not like that anymore then he will dig deep. He is completely settled. We spoke about everything and he is completely fine," the coach said.
“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," he concluded.
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