Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah’s underwhelming first spell in the Premier League at Chelsea is irrelevant to his new manager Juergen Klopp, who said he had tracked the Egyptian since his days at Switzerland’s FC Basel.
The 25-year-old joined Chelsea in 2014 and struggled to make a mark, scoring twice in 19 appearances before being loaned out to Italy’s Fiorentina and then moving to Roma in 2015, where he was directly involved in 58 goals in 83 matches for the club.
Klopp, who managed Germany’s Borussia Dortmund until 2015, admitted that he wanted to buy the Egypt international well before his Roma exploits, after watching Salah play for FC Basel against Dortmund.
“A lot of players have shown it is quite easy to struggle at Chelsea. (Kevin) De Bruyne is one,” Klopp said.
“The only thing that we really ignored was what he did at Chelsea. When he was at Basel, we (Dortmund) played them and we didn’t know him. It was unbelievable. The moment I said ‘let’s go for him’ he was already at Chelsea.
“Then he struggled at Chelsea because it was too early. The question is ‘what did you not see in him?’ because he played all inclusive football. He was quick, he played a lot of games, he created goals and chances and he scored by himself.”
Klopp also believes that the addition of another left-footed player will benefit the squad and said the winger had a lot to learn at the Merseyside club.
“He is left-footed and we don’t have too many of them in the team. It all makes him really valuable for us,” Klopp said.
“I’m happy for the moment but he needs to learn a lot. We have to start working on the physical part and the technical part.”
Liverpool are in Hong Kong to participate in the four-team Premier League Asia Trophy and will face Crystal Palace on Wednesday.