Jurgen Klopp explains why he subbed Mo Salah against Arsenal on Sunday. The Egyptian went off in the second half.
Jurgen Klopp made an interesting decision against Arsenal when he took Mohamed Salah off. The score was 2-2 at the time, with a little over 20 minutes to play.
Now, Salah never really leaves the pitch. He’s one of the fittest players at the club, after all, and one of the absolute best. Liverpool may have been comfortable with a point at the Emirates but taking the Egyptian off isn’t an obvious decision with the scores level.
Klopp moved to explain his thinking after the game. It came down to defending, it turns out.
“We had to defend again on a high level and we tried to put [Jordan Henderson] on that side there,” said Klopp, per Liverpoolfc.com. “Mo did unbelievable, a lot, really big, big workload.
“He put in a real shift and sometimes that’s very intense and that’s why we thought we can do it with Hendo. We still wanted to win even when we took a striker off.”
Liverpool subbed Mo Salah
There are a few things to consider with the decision. Salah has played as much as anyone over the last three games, for instance, and Liverpool need him fit for next weekend against Manchester City.
There’s also the fact that he just didn’t play well. Salah struggled to get by his man all game long and didn’t really threaten Arsenal at all.
But as Klopp says, defence is the big one. It’s not that Salah can’t defend but Liverpool are struggling badly in that regard right now. Moving to a more conventional 4-4-2 with wide midfielders did make sense, even if the Reds still managed to concede seven minutes later.
Salah is a casualty of Liverpool’s inability to defend, then. Finding a way to get him back scoring, while also keeping the back secure, is really Klopp’s biggest task right now.