Nov 20 (Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has hailed striker Mohamed Salah’s early impact this season and said the player could shatter goal-scoring records if only he could maintain his blistering start to the campaign.
Salah, who signed for a reported 34 million pounds ($45.10 million) from Roma in the off season, struck twice as Liverpool beat Southampton 3-0 in the Premier League on Saturday and has scored 14 goals from 18 games in all competitions so far, nine of them in the Premier League.
No player has scored more than 34 Premier League goals in a season, with Alan Shearer, for Blackburn Rovers, and Andy Cole, for Newcastle United, hitting the figure in the 1990s. Tottenham’s Harry Kane was top scorer last season with 29.
“If (Salah) continued at this rate he would finish the season on something like 70 goals which isn’t really likely,” Klopp said, before calling his fifth-placed team’s run of three straight wins in the league the “Mo Salah period”.
Klopp said the Egyptian forward was a lot stronger in his second stint in England after an unproductive 12 months at defending champions Chelsea two-and-a-half years ago.
“Physically, he’s top fit,” the manager added. “All the other boys liked him from the first day without him performing already. They knew they had a really good player in the squad.
“He’s also important even when he’s not scoring because he stretches the formation. The speed of the boys means the last line drops (back) –- there can be no other reaction.”
“The speed players aren’t only for counter-attacking. Sometimes that’s not possible. It’s about stretching formation and creating space for the rest.”
Liverpool take on Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday and can qualify for the knockout phase with a game to spare. They host third-placed Chelsea in the league on Saturday.
$1 = 0.7539 pounds Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Clare Fallon