March 15, 2024

‘World-class’ Salah ready to wreak havoc on Man Utd, says Klopp

African players in Europe: 'Exceptional' Salah reaches 200 goals

Jurgen Klopp believes Mohamed Salah is ready to wreak more damage on Manchester United in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final as the Egyptian gets back up to speed after a lengthy hamstring injury.

Salah scored in his first start at club level since January 1 as the Reds thrashed Sparta Prague 6-1 on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

With that goal, Salah became the first Liverpool player to score 20 or more goals in seven consecutive seasons.

The 31-year-old has scored more goals against United than any other club, netting 12 times in 13 meetings, and his return is a huge boost to Liverpool’s quest for a potential quadruple.

In Klopp’s final season in charge, they have already lifted the League Cup and are also tied on points with Arsenal at the top of the Premier League.

And the German is hoping his talisman can prove decisive in the closing months of the season.

“Mo is pure quality and ask him what he likes the most about Manchester United,” Klopp told his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“Just an exceptional guy, a world-class player and how we dealt without him is unbelievable. But it is better to have him around and on the pitch than just in the changing room.

“We could build him now with minutes and he is ready for Sunday.”

By contrast, United are enduring a miserable second season under Erik ten Hag, with the FA Cup representing their final shot at a trophy.

But they are the only side to have stopped Liverpool scoring this season in a 0-0 draw when the sides met at Anfield in December.

And despite Liverpool enjoying far greater success than their historic rivals during Klopp’s time in charge, he has only won on two of his nine visits to Old Trafford.

“It’s always a tough place to go for us,” said Klopp. “It means everything to both fan groups, we know that. We try to show that on the pitch as well with the work rate but you never know, there are no guarantees.”

Liverpool’s injury crisis is slowly beginning to clear, with Ibrahima Konate and Ryan Gravenberch in contention to make their return on Sunday.

But Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota remain sidelined until at least after the upcoming international break.