Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has openly shared his hope that Egypt, led by star player Mohamed Salah, will exit the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in the group stages.
Klopp expressed a similar sentiment for Japan at the Asian Cup. Salah, who has been instrumental for Liverpool with 18 goals this season, is set to compete in AFCON, starting on January 13, while Japan captain Wataru Endo will participate in the Asian Cup in Qatar.
Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s FA Cup third-round tie at Arsenal, Klopp revealed his unconventional stance on the matter.
He explained that he refrained from wishing Salah and Endo good luck, admitting that he would be happy if they were eliminated in the group stage to ensure their swift return.
“I said if I wish you good luck it would be a lie,” Klopp remarked. “From a personal point of view, I would be happy if they go out in the group stage, but that’s probably not possible. They can go on and win it.”
Despite his personal wishes, Klopp acknowledged the challenge of replacing Salah during his absence.
The Egyptian forward plays a pivotal role on the right side of Liverpool’s attack, and finding a suitable replacement poses a significant task for Klopp and his coaching staff.
In light of these circumstances, Klopp expressed optimism and confidence in Liverpool’s ability to navigate through this period without Salah.
The manager emphasized the importance of dealing with the situation and finding effective solutions to maintain the team’s performance standards.
As Liverpool faces the challenge of Salah’s absence during the AFCON, Klopp remains positive about finding alternative strategies to cope with the star player’s temporary departure.