Band Chris Bascombe
Mohamed Salah looks energized, rejuvenated and ready to renew his quest for the Premier League golden boot after a break in preparation and a contract at Anfield.
His manager, Jurgen Klopp, is ready to reap the benefits of Salah’s much-needed summer break after a tiring end to last season.
Erasing the shadows over Salah’s future when he extended his contract for another two years at £350,000 a week is not so easy to measure. At the very least, Klopp admits he was happy to take the distraction of weekly questions about Salah’s long-term commitment.
“Mo had one of the most intense seasons ever, with the African Cup of Nations and all our matches,” Klopp said.
“Everyone is talking about us playing 63 games and stuff like that, but we also had players playing a tournament in between, which is absolutely ridiculous.
“After a few weeks off, Mo is always full of strength and energy and came back in great shape and yes, knowing where he will be for the next very, very important years in his career. Yes, that gave all of us a boost and so did he. He looked really sharp all through the pre-season to be honest. May it continue like this, that would be really cool.
“Of course it’s much better now than if he hadn’t had a contract next summer. Mo would have been the same person, I’m 100% sure he could have put that aside, but you wouldn’t stop asking and that’s the problem that we would constantly encounter. These things help, yes.”
It is symptomatic of how fast the football world is moving, that once Salah’s future was determined, the focus shifted to how new team-mate Darwin Nunez and Manchester City, who sign Erling Haaland, can go head to head in this season’s goal tally.
It would be unwise to write off Salah’s ability to eclipse both, as his hunger to keep breaking records is insatiable.
“People are motivated by different things. I think Mo’s biggest motivation is to win and score football matches, that is certainly the case,” said Klopp.
“I don’t think he thinks too much about other players or how often they score. Maybe he’ll do it in May, when hopefully he’ll have 34 or 35 and the other two 32.”
Full team news coming soon.