Mohamed Salah was felled in the penalty area for Liverpool’s equaliser against West Ham; Jurgen Klopp believes criticism directed at Salah is unwarranted; Naby Keita and Joel Matip are back in Liverpool squad for Champions League game at Atalanta on Tuesday
Monday 2 November 2020 17:20, UK
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp defends Mohamed Salah for his involvement in the penalty incident during Saturday’s win over West Ham
Jurgen Klopp says he cannot understand the criticism Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has received for his part in winning a penalty in Saturday’s victory over West Ham.
David Moyes accused Salah of diving following a challenge from Arthur Masuaku at Anfield on Saturday, with the Hammers manager insisting he was “amazed” to see the first-half penalty awarded.
Salah scored the resulting spot-kick, before Diogo Jota won it in the second half as Liverpool came from behind to extend their unbeaten home league run to 63 matches.
- Interview: Klopp on Salah’s developmentAnalysis: Firmino’s form assessed
“What can I say? It was a foul,” Klopp said. “Pretty much everyone who saw the situation thought it (was a foul).
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool’s win over West Ham in the Premier League
“Believe it or not, I spoke to Mo yesterday morning about how he feels. He has exactly three proper knocks on the foot. One of them is from the penalty situation.
Ole’s 100 games at Man Utd: A success or failure?
Merson Says: Partey means there’s a place for Ozil
‘A desperate position’ – Nev’s damning Man Utd verdict
Whyte: I think Wilder’s going to retire
Pochettino opens up on Bielsa
Ref Watch: Were Kane, Salah pen calls correct?
Brundle: Mercedes mastery & Hamilton’s comments
Can Southampton gate-crash the top six?
Klopp defends Salah after penalty criticism
“That’s how it is. There is a knock, you go down or not, whatever. Sometimes the refs give it.
“We don’t talk too long about all the penalties we don’t get, to be honest, but obviously now two days after the game, we are talking about that – and there was clear contact.
“So what can I say? No. I don’t understand the criticism.”
Klopp unsurprised by Jota impact
Klopp says he is not surprised how quickly Jota has adapted to Liverpool’s playing style and made an instant impact at the club.
Liverpool paid Wolves £45m for Portuguese winger Diogo Jota in the summer transfer window
Jota has scored three goals in the Reds’ past three games, coming off the bench to net a winner against West Ham which secured the points to send his new club top of the Premier League table.
That strike took his Liverpool tally to four for the season, an impressive start following his £45m summer transfer from Wolves and one which has not come as a surprise to his manager.
- Jota saves Liverpool in late win over West HamShould Jota be starting for Liverpool?Is Rhys Williams in the Van Dijk mould?
“He’s good, as players should be when they join us,” Klopp said at a media briefing ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League tie against Atalanta. “He’s experienced and has already played a lot of football in the Premier League.
“He’s a really good boy and he’s a really good signing. I knew it would not take long for him to adapt because the intensity level from Wolves is very high.
The Anfield Wrap’s John Gibbons says the team have proved they can cope with the loss of Virgil van Dijk to a long-term injury
“The boys on the wings have to run like crazy so we knew physically he would be good. Then it’s all about finding your feet in a new environment.
“It was easy for him to step into the squad and it’s good that we have more than 11 who are in a good shape at the moment.”
Carragher and Klopp were both impressed by Nat Phillips’ Premier League debut for the club in their 2-1 win over West Ham
Liverpool travel to Italy to face an Atalanta side who scored 95 goals in all competitions last season bolstered by the return from injury of Naby Keita and Joel Matip, although decisions on their inclusion will be left until as late as possible on Tuesday.
Klopp will also have been given selection food for thought by Jota, a player he suggested may have benefited from being used a substitute in the early stages of his Liverpool career.
Liverpool defender Joel Matip was injured in the 2-2 draw at Everton but trained with the squad this week
He said: “It’s about coming into a game and finding rhythm and they (substitutes) come on with no pressure. Sometimes if a player is starting he has the night before to think about it.
“It’s personal and it’s a learning process. Coming on and starting a game when you’re new to the club also brings a lot of pressure.”
Jamie Carragher has his say on whether Diogo Jota deserves a place in Liverpool’s starting XI
Should Jota be starting for Liverpool?
Diogo Jota was once again Liverpool’s difference-maker on Saturday, scoring the winner against West Ham at Anfield after previously netting against Sheff Utd and FC Midtjylland this past week.
Should Roberto Firmino make way?
Atalanta boss promises attacking approach
Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has promised he will not alter his side’s attacking mindset against Liverpool.
The free-scoring Italians made it as far as the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season before they conceded two late goals in a 2-1 defeat to eventual finalists Paris Saint-Germain.
They have begun their latest campaign in a similar style, with a 4-0 thrashing of Danish side FC Midtjylland and a 2-2 draw with Ajax.
Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini has said they will not deviate from their attacking brand of football against Liverpool
“We are facing a strong side who have won the Club World Cup and the Champions League the year before so it will be a very prestigious game against Liverpool,” he said.
“As for changing the way we play, that is not a thought in my mind. We have come here after a long journey and are going to play Liverpool and we will still be playing in the same way tomorrow.
“We have this mindset of attacking very often but first you have to get the ball and after this you can start your attacking phase.
“It is unlikely you will see a different Atalanta tomorrow.”