Jurgen Klopp has candidly revealed his preference for Mohamed Salah’s Egypt to be eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations at an early stage, acknowledging the potential impact on Liverpool’s title aspirations.
Mohamed Salah’s involvement in the AFCON, commencing on January 14 against Mozambique, could result in his absence from eight Liverpool games, including a crucial FA Cup clash against Arsenal this Saturday.
Liverpool boss Klopp acknowledged that it would be insincere for him to wish good luck to Salah and Wataru Endo in their AFCON and Asian Cup participation, respectively, given the potential repercussions for Liverpool.
Klopp gets candid about putting Liverpool’s need above Egypt or Japan’s success at nations cups
Speaking to reporters, Klopp said: “I said if I wish them good luck it would be a lie. Hopefully, they are out in the group stages but it’s not likely possible. Good luck and hopefully they can come back healthy. I am pretty positive we will find a way [to replace them] but we have to show that.”
As Salah departs, Klopp has to reorganize his squad ahead of the match against Arsenal. However, when questioned about the possible replacement and alterations in strategy to compensate for the absence of a key player, the former Borussia Dortmund manager remained tight-lipped and did not disclose specific details.
“Not a lot. I think we played against West Ham with Harvey there and we have different defensive options. Other players can play on the wing but maybe not like Mo, it’s not possible,” he said.
“We use the boys and their skills and that is the idea behind it. Do we want to play without Mo? No. But we will find a way but of course we play Arsenal and we can lose with Mo Salah but at the moment we have a chance to win the game, so we think about that.”