Jurgen Klopp believes “world-class” Mohamed Salah is a natural goalscorer who has the selfishness required to win a third Premier League Golden Boot this season.
Despite Liverpool’s struggles this term as their title defence has fallen away since the turn of the year, Salah has remained among the goals, with the 28-year-old two behind Harry Kane in the goalscoring charts after the Tottenham striker’s double at Everton on Friday night.
Salah is chasing his third Premier League Golden Boot in the last four seasons – something his manager, speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Leeds on Monday Night Football – feels sets him apart.
Asked if chasing the Golden Boot is an additional incentive this season for Salah, Klopp said: “Yes, of course.
“A football player has 15 years, maybe 17 or 18 in some cases, in their career. It is a time in your life when you are at your physical best and you want to squeeze everything you can out of your career.
“Most of the players never win the Golden Boot. If you win it once it is a big achievement. If you win it twice it is a really big achievement, if you can win it a third time, there are not many players who have won it three times.
“Strikers have to be selfish. I have never met an unselfish striker. You can be the nicest person in the world but in the end you want to score goals and that means you do not see players in the same shirt.
“He [Salah] is just a natural goalscorer, he wants to score goals. That is something he has developed later in his career. That is what world-class players do [score season after season]. Knowing your own quality helps you get back on track quicker than others.”
Liverpool have won three consecutive league games for just the second time this season – also their first three of the campaign in September – coming from behind to beat Aston Villa last time out.
Such an improvement has revitalised their hopes of a top-four finish. The race for the top four looks set to go down to the wire, but Klopp is not looking for favours from others to secure Champions League football for next season.
“How I learned it very early on is you have to sort the situation for yourself,” Klopp said. “You have to win your own games and not sit in front of the television and hoping for results from other teams.
“If we win our games I think we will make it. If not, then we will have to see.
“We have played some good football recently, but we need consistency performance-wise, and results-wise too. You can see how tough the challenge is. Leeds is a tough place to go, everyone knows how Leeds play with the highest intensity. We need to be ready for these kinds of things.
“The majority of the season is always there to build the basis for the decisive part. The basis we have created is not as good as in other years, but good enough to still be around.
“That is not a problem, it should be difficult to qualify for the Champions League.”
Leeds will be without suspended captain Liam Cooper for their home Premier League game against Liverpool.
Cooper starts a three-game ban following his dismissal in last weekend’s win at Manchester City, so Pascal Struijk or Robin Koch could start.
Raphinha (thigh) and Rodrigo (muscle strain) will both be assessed, while on-loan winger Jack Harrison will return to contention after missing out last week against his parent club.
Klopp has reported no fresh injury concerns following Wednesday’s Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid.
Curtis Jones was not in the matchday squad in midweek as he deals with a muscular problem, while Divock Origi missed a fourth game with a similar issue.
Klopp reported positive news in the ongoing recoveries of Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson, though the quartet remain long-term absentees.