Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is “very positive” about Mohamed Salah’s contract situation.
The Egypt forward has less than 18 months left on his current deal and, in an interview this week, said he was not asking “for crazy things”.
Klopp has said in the past the contract is not something which can be sorted quickly – Salah is reportedly looking for wages in excess of £300,000 a week – and he remains upbeat despite time ticking on.
Jürgen Klopp was asked about Mo Salah’s future during today's press conference:
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 12, 2022
“I know that Mo wants to stay. We want Mo to stay. That is where we are,” Klopp said.
“These things take time. I cannot change that, sorry. I think it is all in a good place.
“I am very positive about it but I am pretty sure fans are not as nervous as you (the media) are.
“They know the club pretty long, they know the people dealing with the different things here pretty long, so I think it is enough reason to be positive.
“But as long as it is not done, we can’t say anything about it. Good conversations, that’s what I can say.
“There are so many things you have to do in these negotiations. There is a third party, the agent in there as well, but there is nothing to worry about, it is a normal process.
“No-one has to worry. It is just the situation. Really, all fine. It’s not done – that’s why we didn’t get this news – but we have talks.”
Looking at Salah’s numbers – he has scored 111 goals in 165 Premier League matches and 148 in 229 in all competitions – the decision to extend the five-year stay of a player leading the race for a third Golden Boot in five years is a no-brainer.
It is not just his weight of goals, it is his consistency. He has never scored fewer than 23 in any one season – including the current campaign – and the fewest appearances he has made in his previous four years is a remarkable 48.
The 29-year-old is super-fit and barely misses a game and that is something owner Fenway Sports Group will have to factor in if it is to break with its general practice of not offering ageing players – Salah will be 30 in June – lengthy, lucrative contracts.
Klopp, however, sees no reason why the forward, currently away at the Africa Cup of Nations, cannot remain at the top level well into his mid-30s like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I am as convinced as you can be,” Klopp added. “He is a world-class player, unbelievable player, great boy, did a lot of great stuff for Liverpool.
“His character, his determination, it’s the way he trains. His attitude, his work-rate is incredible, first in, last out, doing the right stuff.
“You can do some not-so-good things when you are in training and in the gym for a long time but he knows his body, he knows what to do and he is listening to the experts here.
“He tries to improve all the time. He works so hard for the situation he is in now and he will not waste it by doing less.”
Salah, along with Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, will be absent for Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final at home to Arsenal, which is now the first leg after last week’s cancellation following what turned out to be a raft of false positive coronavirus PCR tests.
The first-team training facilities at AXA Training Centre have been temporarily closed due to a rapidly growing number of suspected positive COVID-19 cases.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 5, 2022
The EFL has said it will not be investigating the postponement and Klopp said the matter – which included the closure of the first-team training complex for 48 hours – was not of their own making.
“A false positive is a positive test,” he said. “You get a test result back positive and, when you are able to do a retest a day, a day and a half later you get a result that makes it look like a false positive because this test was a negative.
“It doesn’t change anything for your quarantine but you need to prove that wrong or right (so) you have to do a third test and between the first and second and second and third tests you cannot use the players.”