Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not believe Mohamed Salah is looking for an escape route in search of Champions League football.
Writing on social media after Manchester United’s win over Chelsea on Thursday sent Liverpool into the Europa League next season, the Egyptian striker said he was “devastated” and there was “absolutely no excuse” for not finishing. in the top four of the Premier League.
Last summer, the 30-year-old signed a new contract, making him the highest-paid player in the club’s history, but even if next season goes according to plan and they regain their Champions League place, he will be close to entering the final. 12 months of that deal.
Asked if he was worried about Salah’s immediate future after his rare public statement, Klopp said: “Don’t worry, no. I only heard what he said but I couldn’t read anything that could lead in that direction.
“Obviously Mo loves it here and Mo was a part of it. He said sorry for what ‘we’ did, he didn’t apologize for ‘what the other guys did but I had to go with them’. Everything is good.” .
“If ever a player came to me and said, ‘oh, we didn’t qualify for the Champions League, I have to go’, I would take him to the other club myself.
“I would take the key, [and say] ‘come in the car, where you want to go, I’ll take you’.
“That would be something I could never understand. It’s, I’d say, ‘oh, we didn’t qualify for the Champions League, I need to work in the Champions League, so I’m leaving.'”
Klopp said that if he accepted that mentality, he too would look to leave.
“I’m responsible for this mess, or whatever, so you can’t leave right now,” he added.
“It’s not the case with Mo, not at all, and no one else told me. They ask if they can have a longer vacation or whatever, but no one asks me if they have to come back after the vacation.”
“So that wasn’t in our conversation. I saw him now in the canteen and he was smiling. I don’t know for what reason, since I didn’t ask him, but he’s not in a bad mood. That’s all.”
“We don’t point fingers at each other. That’s fine. If you don’t qualify for the Champions League, the best place you can finish is fifth, so that’s what we did.”
“If you had asked me 10 games ago if that was possible, I would have said no. Guys doing that is really nice, but it’s not perfect.”
“We didn’t finish fifth because of the last 10 games, we finished there because of a lack of consistency before that. We didn’t deliver what everyone wanted or expected, but we’re still very close, that’s the great thing about him.”
Failure to qualify for the Champions League will cost Liverpool at least £50m next season, but there may be short-term implications as UEFA’s second-tier competition is likely to be less attractive to leading players. .
The club have already withdrawn from the race for top target Jude Bellingham after the asking price for the Borussia Dortmund midfielder became prohibitive, and reports this week suggested that the Chelsea midfielder’s preferred destination, Mason Mount, It’s Manchester United.
Klopp is keen to do his business early and is hopeful that finishing fifth doesn’t put a wrench in his planning work.
“I don’t think so, but we’ll see. Obviously, that’s possible, it’s always possible that things won’t go as fast as you want. Not only is it possible, it’s probably likely,” he added ahead of Sunday’s final match. the season in Southampton.
“The better players you want, the less willing the other club is to let you go and that is exactly what we are prepared for.
“But it’s a long window and a long preseason and a long break in between, so we have time. If we have players tomorrow or in six or seven weeks, it’s not a game changer for me, to be honest.”
“In an ideal world, everyone signs in tomorrow and I can tell them when to be here and we can start giving them plans for summer vacation, but that probably won’t happen.”
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