Jürgen Klopp

Salah “on his way” to Messi’s level

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Mohamed Salah scored four goals on Saturday and grabbed an assist as Liverpool beat Watford 5-0 in the Premier League.

It was special. But it was almost as if we’d come to expect this. He is one of those players you pay the entrance fee alone to watch and most PL defenders spend the 90 minutes watching him run by them.

Following the stunning display from the Egyptian winger, Jurgen Klopp was asked about the current level Salah is at as he now leads the PL scoring charts with 28 goals and is the highest scoring Liverpool player ever in a debut season at Anfield with 36 in all competitions.

“I don’t think Mo wants to be compared with Lionel Messi,” Klopp said. “Messi has been doing what he’s been doing for what feels like 20 years or so. The last player I know who had the same influence on a team performance was Diego Maradona. But Mo is in a fantastic way, that’s for sure. As it always is in life, if you have to have the skills you have to show that constantly and consistently, and he is very good.”

Salah’s rise to prominence has been hugely unexpected with the $50 million Liverpool paid to Roma for his services last summer raising plenty of eyebrows.

That transfer fee now seems like a bargain.

The 25-year-old who struggled to break through at Chelsea after arriving from Basel as a youngster is now, like Messi, a genuine global superstar. Everyone knew he was quick and nimble around the box as a winger but nobody expected these gaudy numbers and this kind of output in his debut season at Liverpool.

With Liverpool facing Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League last eight, plenty of City’s defenders will already be having sleepless nights as to how to stop Salah.

Sitting in third place in the table with seven games to go and in the latter stages of the UCL, Liverpool have a hugely talented squad with the likes of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino consistently delivering goals and assists and Klopp’s project is kicking on.

But like Messi at Barcelona, one man helps Liverpool climb above the rest: Salah.

On this form Kevin De Bruyne will have a serious run for his money when it comes to the player of the year awards in England this season.

Salah is still some way off Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of consistent excellence as his subdued display at Manchester United showed last weekend. However, he is getting towards that level and the Egyptian wizard is in the perfect team for his talents to flourish.

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Watford

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  • Sides drew 3-3 at Vicarage Road
  • Hornets 1W-1D-7L vs. Reds this century
  • Watford 10th on 36 points

Wounded animal Liverpool looks to rebound from a derby loss when it welcomes Watford to Anfield on Saturday (Watch live at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: Arsenal avoids Atleti ]

The Hornets took a controversial point at Vicarage Road when Miguel Britos made goal line havoc for Simon Mignolet deep into stoppage time.

Having drawn Man City in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, the Reds focus their attention on the race for a Top Four spot. With the other five in the Top Six dealing with FA Cup action, Liverpool can climb to within two points of second place Manchester United with a win.

Meanwhile, Javi Gracia‘s Watford can move to within a point of the celebrated 40-point mark should they find a win at Anfield. The Hornets sit nine points clear of the drop zone.

What they’re saying

Liverpool’s Klopp on the play of Trent Alexander-Arnold:

Watford’s Javi Gracia on heading to Liverpool“I know Anfield is very difficult for us, but we are looking forward to the match. I know if you see they are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, they are top four of the Premier League and it is not easy as no-one won in Anfield [in the league] this season. If we give them the facilities we gave against Arsenal it will be impossible to get points there.”


The rested Reds will relish the chance to put pressure on Spurs, United, and Chelsea, and come clean with a 3-0 win.

Klopp: Liverpool “for sure not the favorites” vs. Man City

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Jurgen Klopp says “it’s not too cool for England,” but it’s just fine for him.

Klopp’s Liverpool will face Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals beginning April 4 at Anfield and concluding April 10 at the Etihad Stadium (Full draw here).

[ MORE: Arsenal avoids Atleti ]

The draw means only one Premier League side can reach the semis, as City and Liverpool could’ve drawn much better than each other.

The Liverpool Echo transcribed Klopp’s talk with the Reds’ web site.

“We’ve lost once and we’ve won once against them in the league – and I don’t think they thought before the best draw they could have got is Liverpool. That’s a sign for us and how strong we can be.”

“We are for sure not the favorites in this round, but in the last eight there are not a lot of favorites – maybe two of them, Bayern and Barcelona – but thank God it’s football and nothing is decided.”

Man City gets the Manchester Derby sandwiched between the legs, while remarkably Liverpool has the Merseyside Derby.

The 2 Robbies: Mourinho Gets The Better of Klopp

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe go in-depth on Manchester United beating their rivals Liverpool in the race for the Premier League runner-up spot (00:30), discuss the chaos at West Ham United (18:50) and wrap up all the stories in the battle to stay in the league (25:20).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Klopp adamant Mane deserved PK, admits “we chased the game”

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Jurgen Klopp is thinking macro and micro about another Liverpool loss to Manchester United.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool ]

In terms of the 90-minute performance, the German manager summed it up pretty well; United hasn’t lost a home halftime lead since 1984, so it’s no surprise the Reds couldn’t find their way back on Saturday.

“We didn’t score before half time and then in the second half we chased the game,” Klopp said. “It is really difficult to do against a team like Manchester United.”

Then there’s the micro. Klopp was livid with referee Craig Pawson on several occasions, not the least of which was what he perceived to be a penalty against Marouane Fellaini.

[ MORE: Mourinho’s reaction – “I don’t care” about critics ]

United’s sub was well-positioned when Sadio Mane tried to stride past him and made contact with the midfielder’s leg. Liverpool fans wanted a penalty. So did Klopp.

“It was a clear penalty with Fellaini on Mane, in situations like this you need the right decision.”

United went ahead when Romelu Lukaku won an aerial challenge that wasn’t really challenged by Dejan Lovren, and Marcus Rashford benefited in space with a vicious rip.

Klopp defended Lovren.

“You can always lose a header or a challenge with Romelu Lukaku of course but there is a gap in behind and we need to close that.

“It was 2-0 down of course – not a good idea against Manchester United. Long balls to Lukaku and second situations. Lukaku is one of the best strikers in the world, we needed to be around to pick up the ball, we were not and Rashford could use the situation twice.”

Yep. That’s true. Lovren is an easy scapegoat and should’ve done better to snuff the chances out early, but there were multiple opportunities to thwart both Rashford goals.

Let’s hope these two are drawn together in the Champions League. The pitch might start on fire.

Finally, to AP Photo’s Rui Vieira: What a photo, man.