Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted he didn’t see Mohamed Salah being distracted by last season’s contract saga, even though it was an issue that was constantly talked about.
Salah was on course to be out of contract next summer, bringing uncertainty to his future at Anfield, especially as months of talks had previously failed to yield an agreement.
The breakthrough was eventually made and he signed a new long-term deal at the start of July.
“He is in really good shape and of course he is happy to be here. As clear as it was for him, and I said we would get the deal over the line, it was still an open thing and everyone talks about it. We are humans, but I didn’t see it distracting him a lot to be honest,” Klopp explained.
“After a few weeks of holiday Mo is always full of power and energy,” Klopp said.
“He came back in a good shape and, yes, knowing where he will be, I wouldn’t say the rest of his career because he is player who can play on much longer, but for the next very, very important years in his career. That gave all of us a boost and him as well. He looked really sharp in the whole pre-season to be honest. Long may it continue.”
Despite scoring 31 goals in all competitions overall, Salah’s form briefly dropped when he returned from the Africa Cup of Nations. Klopp puts that down to the disappointment of losing the final, whereas Sadio Mane took confidence from winning it with Senegal.
“The difference between the two was one won the AFCON. But if you do the hardest job, you build a house and when the storm puts it away, you did the same job, one takes energy and one gives energy,” Klopp said.