Rome (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp said on Tuesday that Liverpool are reaping the benefits of the footballing maturity Mohamed Salah gained during his spell at Roma.
The 25-year-old Egyptian returns to the Stadio Olimpico for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg looking to add to his 43 goals this season — including two in last week’s first leg at Anfield — compared to 34 over two seasons for the Italian club.
“He has matured. He got confidence here. He came from Chelsea to Florence and played a good season, not as good as the season at Rome, and then he grew up and is now the player he is,” Klopp told a press conference in the Italian capital.
“We are the lucky guys who have him now in the team, that’s how it is. It’s not that I would’ve explained to him exactly how to score goals, he knew that before already, but each striker in the world doesn’t start as an 18-year-old goal-getter.
“He needs to make his own experiences and that’s what Mo did in very difficult circumstances.
“Coming early from Egypt to Switzerland and doing all that journey, and carrying all that responsibility for all the people, for a whole country, and he is really quite cool with it.
“At the end he has good teammates — they love helping him and they love how he helps them. That’s it.”
Salah was named the English football writers’ footballer of the year on Tuesday, completing a personal double after also winning the players’ award.
Liverpool take a 5-2 aggregate lead into the second leg as they look to reach an eighth European Cup final but first since 2007.