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Liverpool to be without Salah for next two league games

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League leaders Liverpool will not hurry injured talisman Mohamed Salah back from a muscle injury, manager Juergen Klopp said ahead of the team’s Premier League ties against Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday and away at Arsenal on Sunday.

“There was no pressure on him other than wanting to get fit as quickly as possible anyway. But we don’t rush,” Klopp told reporters on Tuesday.

“If you could rush the healing process then Thiago wouldn’t have been out for 10 months. You do what you can do and, whilst that happens, we have to wait,” Klopp added. “Mo’s not ready for this game or the next. He’s injured and a muscle injury takes time.”

Salah, the league’s joint top scorer this season with Manchester City’s Erling Haaland on 14 goals each, suffered a hamstring injury in Egypt’s 2-2 draw with Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations on Jan. 18 and returned to Merseyside for treatment.

“It could have been a lot worse, but he’s not available and he’s having rehabilitation,” Klopp said.

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Liverpool are on 48 points from 21 games, five points clear of City but having played one more game than the champions.

Chelsea are ninth on 31 points and have won four of their last five league matches.

The 56-year-old Klopp announced on Friday that he would leave Liverpool at the season’s end. He suggested on Tuesday that reporters had made too much of defender Virgil van Dijk’s comment that he was unsure about his own future after the German manager’s departure.

“It’s completely normal,” said Klopp. “It’s clear the outside world will not give you a second to process.

“A week ago no-one knew about my situation. There was still 18 months on (players’) contracts and no-one asked. No-one has to worry. Write what you want, the club is stable. Everything will be fine, I’m 100% sure. I would recommend to stay calm.”

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After Liverpool’s 5-2 win over Norwich City in their fourth-round FA Cup game on Sunday, Van Dijk was asked whether he sees himself as part of Liverpool’s post-Klopp era.

“That’s a big question. Well, I don’t know,” Van Dijk said.

When told he had only 18 months left on his contract, the player said: “That is correct — good maths. Listen, I don’t know.”

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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