London (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp insists Mohamed Salah won’t lose focus despite the increased demands on the Liverpool star at the climax of his record-breaking season.
Reds boss Klopp is frustrated that Salah had to fly to London to receive the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year award on Thursday, just hours after being presented with Liverpool’s own Player of the Year prize.
Salah, who is also the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year, has not managed to add to his 43 goals this season in the last three matches and looked tired in Liverpool’s defeat at Chelsea on Sunday.
Liverpool need a point against Brighton on Sunday to seal the Premier League top four finish that guarantees entry into next season’s Champions League before turning their attention to the European Cup final against Real Madrid.
Salah is clearly the key to Liverpool’s success in those two crucial matches after scoring 43 goals in an astonishing first season following his move from Roma.
While Klopp admits Salah could have done without the additional non-football workload, he expects the Egypt winger to cope with the stress.
“It is quite difficult for a player because there are some many challenges constantly,” Klopp said on Friday.
“Yesterday we had our LFC Awards – good timing. The next challenge was the journalists (the FWA dinner).
“I know it was a very important award but to bring the boy again, on a Thursday night before the last game, to London to celebrate a party when we are not partying.
“It is not perfect and as a manager I would prefer he went home after work and put his legs up on the sofa watching a movie or going early to bed but he was early to bed, we organised it as good as possible.
“Problems are always problems if you are surprised and you think ‘Oh, I had no clue about that’.
“But it is perfectly planned always and the club is doing a world-class job in organising everything so it is as smooth as possible.”
Klopp has tried to keep his players’ concentrated on the Brighton clash, but he acknowledged the awards season has become something of a distraction.
“You want to be really focused. The season now for most of the teams in the league is a nice time but for us it is work,” he said.