Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has dismissed speculation Mohamed Salah is unhappy at the club.
The Egypt international gave an interview in Spain last week in which he said Barcelona and Real Madrid were top clubs and “who knows what will happen in the future”.
Analysis of his comments ranged from suggestions he was angling for a new longer-term contract beyond 2023 to he was unhappy the considerably younger Trent Alexander-Arnold had been preferred as captain to him in the Champions League dead rubber against Midtjylland earlier this month.
— Carl Markham (@carlmarkham) December 24, 2020
Klopp, however, played down the noise surrounding his leading scorer.
“We do not speak about deals – well, not with you [the media]. Why should we start now?” he said.
“Mo is in a good mood, always a good moment. He is in really good shape and that is the most important thing for me.
“We did not have pictures [from the training ground] this morning but if we did you would have seen him laughing, he enjoyed the session.
“That’s good as well. All the rest is nice for all of you to write about but internally, no, nothing really.”
Salah has scored 13 goals in the 13 Premier League matches he has featured in, missing just one because of Covid-19 isolation.
It is his best start to a Premier League season, even better than his debut campaign when he went on to score 32 in 38 appearances having registered 12 goals at the same 14-match stage.
On that occasion his season ignited in December and Klopp expects just the same from his leading scorer, who came off the bench at Crystal Palace last week to score twice in a 7-0 victory.
“I think there are all these things to talk about: he didn’t start the last game, all the things I heard after about what could be the reason and then he came on and scored two,” added the Reds boss.
“I think in his first season he didn’t start against Stoke, came on and scored two. He obviously doesn’t need a long time.
“Yes, he’s in a good moment and I hope it stays like this. All the boys were in a good moment, that is why we have the points we have so far.
“Now it is much more important we really keep going. Everyone knows the toughest point of the season is now ahead of us.
“The Christmas period is always tough so we have to make sure we get through this with the right results.”
For the third season in succession Liverpool are top at Christmas. In the previous 11 seasons only two times has the side at the Premier League summit failed to go on and win the title: Liverpool in 2013-14 and Klopp’s side in 2018-19.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 22, 2020
“We were one of them. So Brendan Rodgers is to blame for the other one?” said Klopp laughing.
“It obviously means you are not automatically champions in May when you are the Christmas leader, otherwise we would have won the league two times.
“It is the best position you can be in in the moment but that is it. We know how tough it is, how it was, how it will be.
“We haven’t played half the season, which we usually would have done around this time. It is nice, nothing else.
“Two years ago when we didn’t win the league after being top at Christmas it was not about a lack of focus, it was just the quality of the opponent and this quality is still out there.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 24, 2020
“Nothing really happened so far. We collected a few points and if we want to do something special this year we have to collect even more until the end of the season.”
Klopp could have James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri back for the December 27 home game against West Brom but fellow midfielder Thiago Alcantara’s comeback from a knee injury will take a little while longer.