Mo Salah has nothing to prove against former club Chelsea says Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah faces off against his former club Chelsea when the two teams go head-to-head under the lights at Anfield on Saturday, but Jürgen Klopp says the free-scoring Egyptian does not need to prove anything against the Blues.

Mo Salah has nothing to prove against former club Chelsea says Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp
(Picture: Getty Images - Aitor Alcalde)

Jürgen Klopp insists Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has no point to prove ahead of his reunion with former club Chelsea.

The Egyptian international joined the Blues in January 2014 after impressing for Basel, including scoring three goals in four European meetings with the Stamford Bridge side.

But once he joined the West London club, Salah was restricted to just 19 appearances and was sent out on loan to Serie A side Fiorentina, where he impressed.

He then joined AS Roma on a permanent deal and continued his sublime form in Italy, which was enough to tempt Liverpool to spend £36.7 million to sign the 25-year-old back in June.

The Reds have been duly rewarded since Salah's widely-questioned move, having scored 14 goals in his first 19 games in all competitions - including nine in the Premier League to become the top-flight's current top scorer.

Yet ahead of Saturday's meeting at Anfield, Klopp insisted that Salah does not take on his previous employers with the idea of showing them what they are missing out on.

"Salah not to blame for unsuccessful Chelsea spell"

"Disappointing time? I really can't get it," said the Reds boss at his pre-match press conference. "He was very young in a very strong team and it didn’t come through, that happens very often."

He likened Salah's spell at Chelsea to Kevin De Bruyne, Klopp noting that the Belgian playmaker is "doing not too bad" for league leaders Manchester City as the creative heartbeat of Pep Guardiola's phenomenal league leaders.

Klopp said that "it was difficult" for players to break into Chelsea's starting eleven while Salah and De Bruyne were both at the club because "they had already a fantastic offensive team."

"They were successful in this time so nobody was to be blame for that, for sure not Mo," said the German, leaping to his attacker's defence.

He explained that Salah "took the next chance" and "went on loan to Fiorentina" before making "the transfer to Rome" and then joining Liverpool, calling his career progression "an interesting way."

Klopp hailed the 25-year-old's abilities, declaring: "He [has] improved a lot, for sure, especially physical-wise. He was already a very good player, how I said a few times I saw him for the first time at Basel - he was already quick! But that is long ago."

He added: "I don't think he has to prove something, I don't think he sees it like that because it’s a completely normal situation."

Continuing his point, Klopp explained that Salah went there "as a young boy" and though he didn't "come through", he left to "try to do it in a different way."

He praised the Egyptian and said that "he did it" and "succeeded" so that he is now at Liverpool, acknowledging: "If he would've played better at Chelsea, we would not have him probably in this moment. I'm happy about the situation."

Klopp wary of "very good" Chelsea team

Antonio Conte's side sit just three points ahead of Liverpool in the table having suffered three defeats, but arrive on Merseyside in excellent form.

They have won all three of their past three games in all competitions without conceding a single goal, while also plundering nine of their own - with the combination of Álvaro Morata and Eden Hazard stealing most of the plaudits.

On Chelsea's quality, Klopp explained: "They are very good, still. They lost two very decisive players with [Nemanja] Matić and [Diego] Costa. You always have to make a step - not back, but to the side - and try to develop again." 

He said that the reigning champions were "a tuned side" last term and said that "everything worked in pretty much all the games" in that they "defended really well and didn't need a lot of chances to win the games."

Klopp felt that Hazard and Costa "very often made good decisions" last season and that if they didn't then Pedro and Willian were "there" to help provide the goals.

"Apart from two players they have pretty much the same team," he continued, though stating that it is "very difficult" in the Premier League to "play the same season", particularly having lost players.

The Liverpool manager said: "They are in the position they probably would have expected, and nobody has influence on the situation of Manchester City. They are flying, so nobody so far can cope with them. Still, [Chelsea are] a fantastic football team, 100 per-cent."