Salah Scores Brace As Liverpool Defeat Spurs

Liverpool had a poor start to the season. [email protected]

 

Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-1 on Sunday to maintain their hex over the London club, returning to winning ways after two consecutive Premier League defeats.

Jurgen Klopp’s men started the match 10 points behind fourth-placed Spurs, with questions growing over their ability even to mount a challenge for next season’s Champions League places.

But they dominated the contest from the start and took the lead in the 11th minute when the impressive Darwin Nunez teed up Salah, who fired into the bottom corner.

The visitors’ intensity dropped as the half wore on but they doubled their lead in the 40th minute when Salah took advantage of a horrendous error by Eric Dier, who headed the ball straight into the path of the Egyptian forward.

Harry Kane pulled a goal back in the 70th minute as the decibel count rose among the crowd of 62,000 in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but they fell to a third defeat in four league matches.

Spurs have not beaten Liverpool since 2017 and have now lost seven out of the past nine Premier League matches between the sides.

The result will add to doubts over the ability of Antonio Conte’s men to compete at the top of the table after another damaging defeat against a top-four rival.

Tottenham were missing the services of South Korean forward Son Heung-min, who suffered a fracture around his left eye in his side’s midweek Champions League win against Marseille.

Conte put Ivan Perisic up front alongside England captain Kane but the home side were slow out of the blocks.

Nunez, marauding down the left side of the Liverpool attack, tested Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from a tight angle in just the third minute and flashed another shot wide minutes later.

The Uruguayan was the provider of Salah’s opener, controlling Andrew Robertson’s pass and feeding Salah, who fired unerringly into the bottom corner.

READ ALSOArsenal Beat Chelsea At Stamford Bridge, Return As League Leaders

Becker Brilliance

Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker (R) watches the ball narrowly miss his goal in the closing minutes of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on November 6, 2022. (Photo by Ian Kington / AFP)

 

Tottenham found their feet as the half wore on and were only denied an equaliser when Alisson Becker saved at close range from Perisic after a pinpoint Kane cross.

Midway through the opening period the home fans bayed for a penalty when Ryan Sessegnon went down under a challenge from Trent Alexander-Arnold but referee Andrew Madley waved away the claims and VAR did not intervene.

Liverpool, who had lost their previous two Premier League matches, to Nottingham Forest and Leeds, gave Spurs a mountain to climb when they doubled their lead five minutes before half-time.

Becker punted the ball upfield and Dier got his head to it but mistimed it horribly, straight into the path of Salah, who lifted the ball over Lloris and into the net.

Tottenham raced out of the blocks at the start of the second half.

England defender Dier, desperate to make amends for his error, forced Alisson into a diving save before Perisic rattled the bar.

Klopp’s men remained an occasional threat on the break but Spurs suddenly looked far more dangerous.

They finally made their pressure count with 20 minutes to go when substitute Dejan Kulusevski, who had only just been brought on, set up Kane, who fired home from an acute angle.

The England captain tumbled to the ground after a tangle with Ibrahima Konate but the referee ignored claims for a spot-kick.

Spurs centre-back Clement Lenglet headed over from close range as the minutes ticked down but Liverpool held on to record just their fifth league win of the season.

AFP

Moh’s Magic Moment Ends City’s Unbeaten League Run

Liverpool’s Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah (L) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 16, 2022. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

Mohamed Salah produced a moment of magic as Liverpool condemned Manchester City to their first Premier League defeat of the season on Sunday, with leaders Arsenal taking full advantage.

The Egyptian forward’s stunning goal in the 76th minute sealed a 1-0 win after a crackling contest at Anfield and leaves champions City four points behind the Gunners, who won by the same scoreline at Leeds.

Elsewhere, a Mason Mount double secured a 2-0 win for Chelsea at Aston Villa and Manchester United played out a 0-0 stalemate at home to Newcastle, while Southampton drew 1-1 with West Ham.

Liverpool and City could not be separated in the first half at Anfield but the game caught fire after the break.

Jurgen Klopp’s team had a glorious chance to take the lead early in the second half when Salah broke clear on goal but Ederson managed to get a faint touch to tip his shot wide.

City thought they had snatched the lead moments later through Phil Foden but VAR spotted a foul by Erling Haaland on Fabinho in the build-up and the goal was disallowed.

Instead it was Liverpool who struck, with Salah spinning past Joao Cancelo on the halfway line as the pair challenged for an Alisson clearance and racing away to fire beyond Ederson.

The game became heated in the closing stages and referee Anthony Taylor sent Klopp to the stands for the German’s angry reaction to a perceived injustice.

But Liverpool repelled City’s desperate attacks in the closing stages to secure just their third league win in nine games after poor start to the season.

READ ALSO: Saka’s Strike Gives Lucky Arsenal Precious Win Against Leeds

Saka Winner 

Earlier, England midfielder Bukayo Saka slammed home emphatically 10 minutes before the interval at Elland Road as Mike Arteta’s Arsenal won for the ninth time in 10 league games this season.

Leeds substitute Patrick Bamford missed a penalty and his side had another spot-kick decision in stoppage time, initially awarded by referee Chris Kavanagh, overturned after a VAR intervention.

Earlier, play was suspended seconds after kick-off when the match officials lost contact with the video assistant referee and goal-line technology due to a power cut.

Kavanagh led the players off the pitch to a chorus of boos and play did not resume for about 40 minutes.

Chelsea’s fourth consecutive league win came courtesy of Mount’s two goals plus an inspired performance from goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Mount’s first came after Villa defender Tyrone Mings — in the sixth minute — miscued a simple header straight to the England midfielder, who finished coolly past Emiliano Martinez.

Despite their early gift, Chelsea struggled to find attacking fluency and were indebted to Arrizabalaga, whose best save came from a point-blank header from Danny Ings.

Mount doubled the visitors’ lead in the 65th minute, curling home a free-kick from 25 yards after he was brought down by Mings.

Chelsea manager Graham Potter heaped praise on Mount and said Arrizabalaga, who is keeping Edouard Mendy out of the starting line-up, had produced a “world-class performance”.

Cristiano Ronaldo was handed just his second start of the Premier League season against Newcastle but could not add to his tally of 700 club goals — a milestone he reached last week against Everton.

Eddie Howe’s visitors could have been ahead at the break after an impressive first half in which Joelinton hit the crossbar before turning the rebound onto the post.

But United rued two squandered late chances to win the game, with Fred and substitute Marcus Rashford both guilty.

United manager Erik ten Hag bemoaned the late misses.

“In the end we could — we should — have score the winning goal,” he told the BBC. “One from Fred, and then (Marcus) Rashford had to score.

“In the end we could have got the win, we deserved the win.”

AFP

Ethiopia Beat Salah-Less Egypt In AFCON Qualifier

Egypt were runners at the last AFCON. Photo: CAF

 

Egypt sorely missed injured captain Mohamed Salah as they slumped to a shock 2-0 defeat by Ethiopia on Thursday in 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying.  

A strain ruled out the prolific Liverpool scorer after he defied his club last Sunday and played in a victory over Guinea despite not being fully fit.

Egypt lacked several other injured first choices, but were still expected to secure maximum Group D points in neutral Malawi against opponents 108 places lower in the world rankings.

But the quick Ethiopian forwards repeatedly troubled a slow Egyptian defence in the opening half and goals from Dawa Hotessa and captain Shemeles Bekele gave them a two-goal half-time advantage.

Egypt had more possession in the second half on a pitch badly cut up in places due to torrential pre-match rain.

Ethiopia were forced to play in Lilongwe because, like 16 other countries competing in qualifying, they do not have an international-standard stadium.

Coach Ehab Galal has only been in charge of Egypt for two matches after Portuguese Carlos Queiroz could not agree to terms for an extension of his contract.

Galal, who left Cairo club Pyramids to take over the Pharaohs, will now come under intense pressure as a year filled with disappointments for Egypt continues.

They lost the last Cup of Nations final to Senegal on penalties in February and one month later suffered a similar fate against the same team in a play-off to decide who went to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Egypt needed 87 minutes to score the goal that beat Guinea in the opening round of 2023 Cup of Nations qualifying and the loss to Ethiopia left them bottom of the table.

The only consolation for Galal and his squad is that the other teams in the section — Ethiopia, Malawi, and Guinea — have also won and lost so each side has three points.

READ ALSO: [AFCON 2023] Super Eagles Labour To Beat Sierra Leone In Abuja

Naby Keita Winner

Guinea left it late to beat Malawi 1-0 in Conakry with Naby Keita, a Liverpool teammate of Salah, scoring in added time.

Nigeria ended a five-match winless run by coming from behind to beat Sierra Leone 2-1 in a Group A match played behind closed doors in Abuja because of crowd trouble in a World Cup play-off against Ghana.

All the goals came before half-time with Jonathan Morsay nodding the Leone Stars into an early lead, Alex Iwobi levelling and Victor Osimhen scoring what proved the match winner on 41 minutes.

Guinea-Bissau lead Nigeria on goal difference after hammering Sao Tome e Principe 5-1 in the Moroccan city of Agadir with Belgium-based Zinho Gano bagging a brace within eight minutes.

The brilliance of South Africa captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams could not prevent Qatar-bound Morocco winning a high-profile Group K clash 2-1 in Rabat.

It was the first match for both teams in a group reduced to three teams by the banning of Zimbabwe over government interference and Ayoub el Kaabi won it with a superb 87th-minute volley.

Fellow World Cup qualifiers Cameroon were also narrow winners, edging plucky minnows Burundi 1-0 in Tanzania though a goal from Karl Toko Ekambi.

Minnows Lesotho exceeded expectations by holding an Ivory Coast side stacked with Europe-based stars 0-0 in cold Soweto.

The Ivorians qualify automatically as 2023 hosts but are competing in Group H to gain competitive match practice.

This leaves rivals the Comoros, Lesotho and Zambia fighting for just one place at the finals and the Zambian Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) lie second on head-to head records.

Mali scored twice in added time with 10 men to defeat South Sudan 3-1 and build a three-point lead over Congo Brazzaville and the Gambia in Group G.

AFP

Liverpool And Real Madrid Ready For Champions League Final Rematch

In this file photo, Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo (C) vies with Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho (L) and Liverpool’s Scottish defender Andrew Robertson during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Liverpool and Real Madrid meet in the Champions League final for the second time in five years in Paris on Saturday, with Jurgen Klopp’s side aiming to end the season with a trophy treble while the Spanish giants will look to Karim Benzema to inspire them to a 14th European Cup victory.

A crowd of 80,000 will be inside the Stade de France for the final, which kicks off at 9 pm in Paris (1900 GMT), including around 20,000 supporters of each side who have officially got their hands on precious tickets for the game.

The final promises to be a fitting climax to the European season, with Liverpool looking to win a second Champions League in four seasons since losing 3-1 to Real in Kyiv in 2018 when Mohamed Salah went off injured in the first half and Gareth Bale scored twice for the Spaniards.

Victory would round off a campaign in which Liverpool won the English League Cup and FA Cup, and finished just a point behind champions Manchester City in the Premier League.

“If you are a football person you know what my boys did so far this season was exceptional,” Klopp said on Friday.

“But we all know you are judged by the colour of the medal after a game.

“I’m more than happy and proud of what we did so far, it’s really special. I will feel better if we win the game and that’s all that I am concerned about,” added Klopp, who has been boosted by the news that midfield duo Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are fit to play.

 Seventh heaven? 

The Anfield club can win their seventh European Cup, a tally that would see them go level with AC Milan and leave only Real with more victories.

Indeed Madrid are looking to win their fifth Champions League in nine seasons and, ominously, have won on all of their last seven final appearances.

While Liverpool saw off Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal in the knockout rounds, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real produced a series of memorable comebacks to beat Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and then Manchester City.

“It is a great success for all of us to be here. We know very well the demands at this club, the history, but for us to get here is huge,” said Ancelotti, who last year was in charge of Liverpool’s local rivals Everton.

“We are convinced that the season has already been very, very good but now we are very close to getting the big one.”

Liverpool look to have the stronger side on paper, with Alisson in goal, Virgil van Dijk marshalling their defence and Salah and Sadio Mane leading their attack.

Yet Real are pinning their hopes on Karim Benzema, the 34-year-old Frenchman who has 15 goals in the competition this season.

Eyes on Benzema 

He has scored 44 times altogether this season to lead Real to the Spanish title and is the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or.

“He is for sure one of the best players in the world, probably the best forward in the world, and I’m sure the most underestimated player maybe in history,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told AFP on Friday when asked about Benzema.

“He has more personality and leadership on and off the field now but what has not changed is his quality and he remains as humble as ever,” said Ancelotti, who won the 2014 Champions League with Real in his first spell as coach.

Ancelotti can become the first coach to win the Champions League four times, having also triumphed with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007 — he is currently level on three wins with Zinedine Zidane and Bob Paisley.

 Fans descend on Paris

This will be the third final between the clubs, who also met in Paris in 1981, when the English side triumphed thanks to Alan Kennedy’s goal at the Parc des Princes.

This final — which will be refereed by Frenchman Clement Turpin — is only being played in Paris after Saint-Petersburg was stripped of the game following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There is some concern about the new pitch at the Stade de France which was only laid this week after the venue was used for a concert last weekend — Klopp suggested playing on a brand new surface was “obviously not the best news”.

Around 40,000 Liverpool fans without tickets for the game are also expected to be in Paris, while around seven thousand police will be on duty as part of a massive security operation.

AFP

Salah And Son Heung-Min Share Premier League Golden Boot

A photo combination of Son and Salah holding their gongs.

 

Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min shared the Premier League Golden Boot on Sunday after both forwards scored on the final day of the season.

South Korea’s Son netted twice in Tottenham’s 5-0 win at Norwich to move to 23 goals — one clear of Salah, but the Egypt forward struck late in Liverpool’s 3-1 win at home to Wolves.

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo finished third with 18 goals in his first season back in the Premier League.

Salah’s goal was ultimately in vain as Jurgen Klopp’s team finished one point behind Manchester City, who scored three goals in five minutes to beat Aston Villa 3-2.

Tottenham’s win secured a fourth-place finish, meaning they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

READ ALSOArsenal Miss Out On Champions League For Fifth Season In A Row

Son, 29, said it was “incredible” to have the award.

“I can’t believe it,” he told the BBC. “I got really emotional. I dreamed of it as a child. Literally it’s my in hands. I can’t believe it.

“Until my goal I was really frustrated that I missed big chances. I told the players I missed the easiest chances and scored one of the toughest ones.

“I didn’t give up. I wanted to score today. The team helped me a lot at half-time. They wanted to help me, you could see it today.”

Spurs manager Antonio Conte was delighted to see club and individual ambitions realised with the rout of the Canaries at Carrow Road.

“This was our target,” he told the BBC.

“First to get in the Champions League but then when there was a chance to help Sonny reach the top scorer, we enjoyed it,” the Italian added.

“I have seen his team-mates try to help him. The award is for Son but it’s for the whole team. They helped him reach this big achievement.”

AFP

Ronaldo, Mane Missing As EPL Unveils Player of The Season Nominees

File COMBO of the shortlisted EASports Player of the year 2021/2022 awards nominees

 

EA SPORTS on Friday unveiled nominees for the 2021/2022 Premier League Player of the Season award and surprising exclusions were Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s forward Sadio Mane.

Ronaldo, who won the Premier League Player of the Month for April, and Mane – a key man in Liverpool’s quadruple-chasing side – did not make the cut in a list that included Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been a shining light in United’s dismal season with 18 goals in 30 league matches. He has also twice been named as the Premier League’s player of the month. Similarly, the Senegalese star has scored 15 goals in 33 league appearances as the Anfield club bid for the unprecedented quadruple. His Liverpool teammates Mohammed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been important to Jurgen Klopp team’s blistering form this season.

File COMBO of Sadio Mane and Cristiano Ronaldo

 

Salah, who was  2017/18 EA SPORTS Player of the Season and also the leader in the Golden Boot race with 22 goals, was shortlisted for the prize. Arnold, on the other hand, has contributed at both ends of the pitch, dominating the right flank for the second-best defence in 2021/22 as well as scoring two goals and setting up 12 more, the second-most of all players.

The shortlist also included Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Jaoa Cancelo. Both have also been vital to Guardiola’s dream of lifting a consecutive Premier League title. The 2019/20 winner is aiming to be only the fourth player to claim more than one EA SPORTS Player of the Season award.

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, who has been important to the side’s resurgence with 21 goals – only one behind Salah in the Golden Boot race – is also in the running for the top award. 

Having been a key part of a top-four chasing Arsenal, Saka’s contributions to the Gunners this season were rewarded with a nomination. 

Also included in the shortlist is Jarrod Bowen. He is the second West Ham United player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in a Premier League season. Bowen scored 10 and set up 10, justifying his inclusion on the list.

James Ward-Prowse completes the list of nominees for the award. He has been an unsung hero in the heart of the midfield for Southampton. The Saints have caught the eye with some magnificent performances leading to nine goals. Five of them came from trademark direct free-kicks.

Liverpool Still Chasing Man City Like ‘Mad’ In Title Race – Klopp

In this file photo, Manchester City’s English midfielder Phil Foden (L) crosses the ball during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on April 10, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool are still “chasing like mad” after Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, said Jurgen Klopp after coming from a goal down to beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Tuesday.

The top two are now level on points, but City stay top on goal difference and have a game in hand away to Wolves on Wednesday.

Liverpool could ill-afford another slip up after being held 1-1 at home by Tottenham at the weekend and got off to the worst possible start when Douglas Luiz fired Villa in front after three minutes.

But Joel Matip quickly levelled and Sadio Mane’s fine header 25 minutes from time kept the Reds in contention for a historic quadruple of trophies.

“We are still chasing like mad,” said Klopp. “We just know we have to win, that didn’t change and now we have to recover to play the FA Cup final. There is no mercy.”

READ ALSOGuardiola Hints Man City Closing In On Haaland Deal

However, victory came at a cost as Fabinho limped off with a muscle injury that makes him a major doubt for both Saturday’s FA Cup final and the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28.

“He felt a muscle, not too much,” added Klopp. “He is quite positive but I’m not sure what I can make of that to be honest.”

With one eye on Wembley, Klopp rolled the dice with his team selection as Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara were left on the bench, while there was no place in the squad for Andy Robertson.

The visitors looked like a much-changed side as Villa sprang out of the traps and caught them cold.

Alisson Becker had already denied Ollie Watkins by the time Steven Gerrard’s men took the lead on three minutes.

Luiz’s header was parried by Alisson, but only back into the path of his Brazilian international teammate to hammer the rebound high into the net.

Villa won this fixture 7-2 last season, but Liverpool this time bounced straight back from the early blow of conceding.

The hosts did not deal with a free-kick into the box and the ball eventually broke for Virgil van Dijk to square for his centre-back partner Matip to apply the finishing touch.

Chances continued to come at both ends in a frantic first half.

Mane headed inches wide and Naby Keita missed his kick with the goal gaping for Liverpool, while, at the other end, Danny Ings just failed to keep his header down from Lucas Digne’s inviting cross.

Mane Header

Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) celebrates scoring the team's second goal with Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson (C) and Liverpool's Portuguese striker Diogo Jota during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on May 10, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) celebrates scoring the team’s second goal with Liverpool’s English midfielder Jordan Henderson (C) and Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on May 10, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool’s heavy schedule began to show physically when Fabinho limped off with a hamstring injury midway through the first half.

However, Liverpool went through the gears in the second period to show the gulf in class between the sides.

“We’ve got to take the big moments we created in the game,” said Gerrard. “I’m frustrated we didn’t score more than once.

“We were ambitious, brave, and courageous against one of the best teams in the world.”

Luis Diaz’s arrival in January has played a huge part in keeping Klopp’s men in contention for four trophies.

The Colombian created the winner as he teased Tyrone Mings before delivering a pinpoint cross for Mane to head in his 22nd goal of the season.

There were still nervy moments for Liverpool to see out in the final quarter as Villa sought to expose their high line.

Twice Ings failed to capitalise when played through on goal before being flagged offside when he did finally put the ball in the net.

But Liverpool held on and will hope Gerrard can finally come to their rescue in a title race.

Gerrard famously never won a league title during his decorated playing career at Anfield but will take Villa to face City at the Etihad on the final day of the season.

AFP

Salah Creates Only Goal As Egypt Edge Senegal In World Cup

[email protected]_Online

 

Prolific Liverpool scorer Mohamed Salah was the architect of the only goal as Egypt edged Senegal 1-0 in Cairo on Friday in a World Cup play-off first leg.    

Salah turned inside the box and slammed the ball against the crossbar with the rebound hitting Senegal defender Saliou Ciss and rolling into the net.

The eagerly awaited clash was a repeat of the Africa Cup of Nations final last month, which Senegal won 4-2 on penalties in Cameroon after 120 goalless minutes.

AFP

‘He Will Deal With That’: Klopp Backs Salah To Recover From AFCON Loss

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) consoles Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 20, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP).

 

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool’s experience of recovering from losing finals to win major titles can provide solace for Mohamed Salah after Egypt’s African Cup of Nations final misery.

Egypt captain Salah lost out to Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane, who scored Senegal’s winning penalty in a shootout victory in Sunday’s final.

Salah was back in Liverpool just 24 hours later, while Mane is still to return as he soaks up the celebrations in his homeland.

Liverpool lost three finals in the League Cup, Europa League, and Champions League under Klopp before lifting the Champions League in 2019 and going on to end a 30-year wait to win the Premier League.

READ ALSO: Senegal Win AFCON 2021, Claim First Continental Title

Reds boss Klopp admitted Salah was down on his return to Merseyside, but he hopes the deflating feeling can provide inspiration in future finals.

“Losing a final is always really hard – I can sing that song – but losing the way they lost it was especially hard and that is what he felt as well,” Klopp said on Wednesday.

“We spoke obviously and we will see. He will deal with that, of course, and I hope today will already be better, but yesterday everyone could see he still has the final in his mind.

“When you lose a final, which we are obviously the best example for, it is really, really hard, but if you use it for the next big game or next big tournament then it can at least still be helpful, even if it was really hard.”

Salah is in contention to feature against Leicester in the Premier League on Thursday as Liverpool aim to keep the pressure on Manchester City at the top of the table.

The Reds are still involved in four competitions with the League Cup final against Chelsea to come later this month plus last 16 ties in the FA Cup and Champions League.

But Klopp does not believe Salah needs any more motivation to succeed.

“Greater determination than Mo already had? I am not sure that is human,” added Klopp.

“Yes, that all helps in the long-term, but I don’t think there is a lot of space for more determination in Mo’s mind.”

AFP

Salah Lifts Egypt Over Guinea-Bissau At Cup Of Nations


Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah (L) fights for the ball with Guinea-Bissau’s midfielder Moreto Cassama during the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Guinea-Bissau and Egypt at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 15, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

Mohamed Salah got back among the goals for Egypt on Saturday as his second-half strike handed the record seven-time African champions a crucial 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in Garoua that was not without controversy.

Salah’s first-time finish at the back post in the 69th minute got his and his team’s campaign in Cameroon up and running after they had lost 1-0 to Nigeria in their opening Group D game.

However, Guinea-Bissau were left fuming after a stunning 82nd-minute strike by Mama Balde was ruled out following a VAR review.

Egypt, who also hit the woodwork three times, will feel they deserved the victory on the balance of play and Carlos Queiroz’s team now need only draw their last group game against neighbours Sudan in Yaounde on Wednesday to guarantee safe passage to the last 16.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Rules Put Fans Off Attending AFCON Matches

“It was a really tough game and we were a little bit lucky with the foul,” Salah admitted to broadcasters at the end of the match.

“We have to win our next game now to make sure we qualify and we will do our best to go as far as we can in the tournament.”

Salah, who had not scored in any of his previous six appearances for Egypt this season, struck the post with just 84 seconds played.

The Liverpool star was then involved at the start of the 18th-minute move that ended with Omar Marmoush cushioning the ball down for Mostafa Mohamed to send another shot off the upright.

Salah finally broke the deadlock midway through the second half when he met Amr El Solia’s floated ball to the back post with a first-time cushioned volley that Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes may feel he should have saved.

Balde thought he had equalised with a superb goal when he collected possession on the left wing, cut inside and unleashed a tremendous effort from just inside the box into the far corner.

However the referee ruled out the goal after reviewing the images, judging that Balde had grappled Egypt right-back Omar Kamal to the ground.

It was a let-off for the Pharaohs, who also survived in injury time when the lively Moreto Cassama’s piledriver was saved by Mohamed El Shenawy.

The small west African nation of Guinea-Bissau are appearing at their third straight AFCON having never qualified before 2017, but they are left still searching for their first win at the tournament after eight attempts.

AFP

Klopp ‘Very Positive’ Over Salah Contract Talks 

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) consoles Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 20, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)

 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he is “very positive” over contract talks with Mohamed Salah, stating that the forward wants to stay at the Premier League club.

The Egypt international, 29, has fewer than 18 months left on his current deal and in an interview published this week said he was not asking “for crazy stuff”.

Reports have suggested that Salah, who has won the Champions League and Premier League with Liverpool, is looking for a weekly salary of more than £300,000 ($410,000).

Klopp has said in the past that the contract is not something that can be sorted quickly but he remains upbeat.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Can Still Attract Elite Players, Says Arteta

“I know that Mo wants to stay,” he said on Wednesday, on the eve of the first leg of Liverpool’s League Cup semi-final against Arsenal.

“We want Mo to stay. That’s where we are. It takes time,” he said. “I think it is in a good place. I’m very positive about it. The fans are not as nervous as you (the media) are.

“They know the club and know the people dealing with things here. We cannot say anything about it.”

Salah, who has scored 111 goals in 165 Premier League matches for Liverpool, and is on track for a third Golden Boot in five years, said in an interview with GQ magazine that he wanted to be appreciated.

“I want to stay, but it’s not in my hands,” he said. “It’s in their hands. They know what I want. I’m not asking for crazy stuff.

“The thing is when you ask for something and they show you they can give you something (they should) because they appreciate what you did for the club.”

Salah, currently playing for Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, has made the three-man shortlist, along with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi, for FIFA’s best men’s player of 2021.

AFP

Mane, Ndidi And Other Stars To Watch At The Cup Of Nations

A photo combination showing Mane, Ndidi, and Salah.

 

As the Africa Cup of Nations begins in Cameroon on Sunday, here are stars to watch out for at the tournament:

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City and Nigeria)

File photo: Brazil’s forward Neymar (R) fights for the ball with the Super Eagles of Nigeria’s midfielder Wilfred Ndidi during a friendly international football match at the National Stadium in Singapore on October 13, 2019. Roslan RAHMAN / AFP

 

The Nigerian midfielder has been a mainstay for Leicester City following his move from the Belgian side, Genk, in 2017.

To date, the 26-year-old has played over 130 times for the FA Cup holders and was instrumental in their run to that trophy.

Aside from Ndidi’s tackling and defensive attributes, he also brings physicality to the game. His incredible work rate will prove handy for the Super Eagles on a quest for a fourth continental crown in Cameroon.

His performances for the Foxes have also seen him likened to some of the best midfielders in Europe.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Bayern Munich and Cameroon)

File photo: Bayern Munich’s striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting reacts after scoring the 7-0 during the German first division Bundesliga football match between FC Bayern Munich and VfL Bochum in Munich, southern Germany, on September 18, 2021. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

 

Choupo-Moting was dismissed at times during his two-year stint at Paris Saint-Germain, where he was a back-up in attack to superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Yet he still popped up with some important goals and has netted 17 times in 44 appearances since signing for Bayern Munich in 2020.

The 32-year-old, who stands 1.91m tall, was born in Germany and notably played for Hamburg and Schalke at the start of his career before a stint in the Premier League at Stoke City.

Eligible for Cameroon through his father, he represented the Indomitable Lions at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and captained them at the AFCON in 2015 and 2017. He did not go in 2017 when Cameroon won the trophy in Gabon but is the biggest name in the hosts’ squad this time as they look to win the trophy for the sixth time.

READ ALSO: [AFCON 2021] Cameroonians Ready For Football Fun

Sadio Mane (Liverpool and Senegal)

Sadio Mané 

 

Senegal are the leading African side according to the FIFA rankings and Liverpool forward Mane is their star player. A former African Footballer of the Year who also came fourth in the Ballon d’Or rankings in 2019, Mane will be hugely missed by Liverpool as he heads to Cameroon -– he has 10 goals this season for his club.

However, the 29-year-old is desperate to win African football’s biggest prize after Senegal lost to Algeria in the 2019 final. The West African country has never won the Cup of Nations.

Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain and Morocco)

(From L) Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain’s Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi and Paris Saint-Germain’s Spanish midfielder Pablo Sarabia attend a training session at the Camp des Loges Paris Saint-Germain football club’s training ground in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on august 13, 2021. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

 

At 23, right-back Hakimi is starring for PSG having already played for Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and Inter Milan, and is arguably the best-attacking full-back on the planet today. He will therefore be the man to watch in a Morocco side among the leading contenders to go all the way.

Hakimi, who joined PSG from Inter last July for 60 million euros ($71 million), is, in theory, a defender, but he is chiefly a key creative and attacking outlet down the right. Born and brought up in Madrid to Moroccan parents, Hakimi was just 18 when he scored on his competitive debut for the Atlas Lions.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)

Salah 'Almost 100%' Certain To Play In Egypt Opener, Coach Says
File photo: Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah gestures as he takes part in a training session at Ekaterinburg Stadium in Ekaterinburg on June 14, 2018, a day ahead of the team’s Russia 2018 World Cup Group A opening football match against Uruguay. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Many scoffed when Salah came seventh in the final Ballon d’Or rankings in November. It could be argued there is no better player in the world right now than the 29-year-old forward, who has scored 54 times for Liverpool since the start of last season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will miss him and Mane while they are gone for up to a month, but Salah carries the hopes and dreams of 100 million Egyptians on his shoulders. He is the headline act in a squad made up largely of home-based players as The Pharaohs chase a record-extending eighth African crown.

Salah played in the team that lost the 2017 final to Cameroon before losing to South Africa as hosts in the last 16 in 2019.

Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City and Algeria)Another former African footballer of the year, Mahrez captained Algeria to victory in 2019 and is again the star man as they look to defend their title.

The winger has been in fine form for Manchester City, with 13 goals in 25 games this season for the Premier League leaders. Now 30, Mahrez was born and brought up in the Paris suburbs but Algeria was the land of his late father’s birth and Riyad made his international debut just before the 2014 World Cup, not long after he first moved to England with Leicester City.

Sebastien Haller (Ajax and Ivory Coast)

File photo: Cameroon’s Bangou Tchamba (C) fights for the ball with Ivory Coast’s Serge Aurier (L) and Sebastien Haller (L) during the FIFA Qatar 2022 World Cup qualification football match between Ivory Coast and Cameroon at the Alassane Ouattara Ebimpe stadium Anyama on September 6, 2021. (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)

 

The tall 27-year-old striker has been one of the stars of this season’s UEFA Champions League, scoring 10 goals in the group stage for Ajax. He became just the second player to score in all six group games, following Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017.

Haller, who has 22 goals this season, joined Ajax last January from West Ham United for 22.5 million euros ($27.5m), calling time on a disappointing spell in England to return to the Dutch league, where he was based previously.

Born and brought up in the Paris suburbs, he played for France Under-21s but opted to represent the Ivory Coast –- the land of his mother’s birth -– after getting the call aged 26.

AFP