File Photo: Roberto Firmino (right) is happy for Mohamed Salah to hog the headlines. AFP
Liverpool star winger Mohamed Salah has defended teammate Roberto Firmino after recent criticisms, tipping the Reds for winning the English Premier League title this season.
“I don’t count our goals together (Salah, Mane and Firmino), but we are here for four years and we score many goals. Sometimes we are good and other times are not, but the most important thing is that we win and try to help each other,” Salah told beIN Sports TV channel on Saturday, just 24 hours ahead of facing Manchester City in the league on Sunday.
The influential attacking trio Salah, Mane and Firmino played an instrumental role in Liverpool’s success in the past three seasons, but the Brazilian’s place in the starting XI has been recently in doubt after the superb performances of Portuguese winger Diogo Jota since his arrival from Wolves in the summer.
Jota quickly established himself at Liverpool; netting seven goals in all competitions, including three Premier League goals, unlike Firmino who scored a single league goal since the season's start amid calls from some fans to depend on active Jota in the matches regularly.
“I am not the coach to determine who plays in the starting line up from Firmino or Jota, but it is unfair to speak badly about Firmino after his achievements in the past five years even if his goal scoring ratio declined. He has a role that helps us on the field,” added the former Chelsea and AS Roma player Salah.
Liverpool’s campaign this season was dealt a huge blow as influential centre-back Virgil van Dijk could be missing for a long time after undergoing a knee surgery following damaging ligaments against Everton on 17 October.
“Virgil van Dijk’s injury is difficult as he was playing regularly since his arrival, but we had to prove our worth. Thank god as the youth players who played recently were good, seeking improvement and we always talk to encourage them,” Salah said.
“Even amid after the injury of van Dijk’s replacement Fabinho we won and that was very important for the team, he added.
Liverpool the league Champions
Liverpool won the English Premier League title last season and 28-year-old Salah believes that the achievement would be repeated this term.
“Liverpool will be the Premier League champions. Some teams had a strong start this season, but they won’t continue on the same level like Aston Villa and Everton. In my opinion we will be the champions in the end,” added Salah who scored 19 league goals last season.
Salah scored for Liverpool during the 5-0 rout of Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, equalling Gerrard's scoring record of 21 Champions League goals for the Reds.
Salah's goal against Atalanta was the 103rd of his Liverpool career in all competitions since he joined the club in July 2017.
Champions Liverpool currently lie second at the Premier League table with 16 points from seven matches, with the same points of leaders Southampton who played one match more but lead with goal difference.
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