Jürgen Klopp has claimed he has no concerns over Mohamed Salah’s contract stand-off with Liverpool because both parties see his long-term future at Anfield and have held “good conversations” over a new deal.
Liverpool’s leading goalscorer has entered the final 18 months of his contract and, in an interview with the latest edition of British GQ, reiterated that a successful outcome to protracted talks over an extension rests with the club’s owner, Fenway Sports Group.
Negotiations between FSG and Salah’s representative, Ramy Abbas Issa, started before this season but, despite the absence of an agreement on what would be the most lucrative deal in the club’s history, Klopp remains confident Salah will stay.
“There was nothing in it that would be unexpected,” the Liverpool manager said of the GQ interview. “We know, I know, that Mo wants to stay. We want him to stay. That’s the point where we are. These things take time. I can’t change that, sorry! But I think it is all in a good place.
“I am very positive about it. I’m pretty sure the fans are not as nervous as you [the media] are. They know the club, know the people here who are dealing with things, so there are, I think, enough reasons for being pretty positive. As long as it’s not done, we cannot say anything about it. ‘Good conversations’ – that’s what I could say.”
Salah has said repeatedly that he wishes to prolong his career at Anfield. With Liverpool wanting the same thing, Klopp was asked, why the delay?
“These things take time,” he replied. “There are so many things you have to do, and by the way there is a third party: the agent is there as well. But there’s nothing to worry about – it’s a normal process. Mo has a contact here this season and next season. Nobody has to worry, it’s just the situation. All fine, not done, but we had talks. He’s a world-class player, unbelievable player, did a lot of great stuff for Liverpool. Of course we want to keep him, and let’s see how it will work out.”
Salah turns 30 in June and his age has been cited as a possible reason for FSG’s reluctance to meet the player’s demands. But Klopp, who has been involved in the discussions, has championed the Egypt international’s ability to emulate Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in sustaining world-class levels into his mid-30s.
“I think so,” he said. “It’s his character, his determination, the way he trains, his attitude, work rate. It’s incredible. First in, last out, doing the right stuff. You can do some not-so-good things when you spend so long in the gym and the training ground, but he knows his body and he knows what to do. He listens to the experts here and tries to improve all the time. He worked so hard to be in the situation he is in now and he will not waste it by doing less. I am as convinced as you can be.”