Injury affected Salah early season
Mohamed Salah toiled with the after effects of his shoulder injury at the start of this season, says Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. A deft finish from the Egypt forward opened the scoring for Liverpool in the Premier League leaders' 2-0 win at Wolves last time out and moved him on to 14 goals for the campaign in all competitions.
Five of those have come in the past two weeks and Klopp believes the 2017-18 PFA and Football Writers' Player of the Season is now firing on all cylinders – not that this was always the case in the months after his ill-fated grapple with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final.
"He is young enough to involve a lot more things in his game. It's not just speed, it's not just finishing, it's keeping the ball," Klopp told reporters at a news conference ahead of Newcastle United's Boxing Day visit to Anfield.
"But you need your body for that and that was the only problem with Mo at the beginning of the season. Part of his body was still not perfect. If you work in an office and your shoulder is not 100 per cent, it's okay. If you are a professional football player, it just takes 10-15 per cent away.
"He's still a world-class player but we knew we had to wait until the moment when everything was fine again."
Klopp has made a subtle change to Salah's role in Liverpool's much-vaunted forward line this season, meaning the 26-year-old has often been stationed in a central attacking position as opposed to his customary spot on the right wing.
"It's good. He had to adapt a bit to a slightly different position. Not that different, but slightly. We need his link-up play," the former Borussia Dortmund coach explained.
"He still has that desire and the speed in the first few yards, which is impressive. And of course, he is a very important part of our finishing situations."