Jurgen Klopp has responded to criticism of Mohamed Salah after Graeme Souness labelled him ‘super selfish’ following the Reds’ win over Brighton.
Salah scored two and set up Jordan Henderson as the newly crowned Premier League champions won 3-1 at the Amex on Wednesday.
The Egyptian forward’s brace took him up to 19 league goals for the season – three behind the division’s top scorer Jamie Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot.
Salah was guilty of ignoring better-placed teammates on occasion during the match.
And Reds legend Souness said the striker was taking selfishness “to another level” as he targets winning the goalscoring award for a third consecutive season.
But Klopp defended his top marksman, who last year shared the Golden Boot award with team-mate Sadio Mane and Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, having won it outright the previous season.
“”He is a striker, how can it not be a motivation for him?” said Klopp in quotes reported by the Liverpool Echo.
“But the last two years he has won the Golden Boot. Last year he shared it with Sadio (Mane) and Auba (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang) and that is always important.
“But in the end you can only score when you perform well and he did that tonight.
“So that was really good. If you are too focused on goals, which they aren’t, then you do not move to be in the right situations, but the goals we scored tonight are really good. We could have scored more, that is true.
“And 250 goals by the way (between Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino) is really exceptional. Imagine where I would be if these boys would not play for me. Wow! The situation minus 250 goals…it is great.”
Souness blasted Salah after the match, saying his teammates will have been irritated by his greed.
“He was at it tonight from the first minute,” the former Liverpool midfielder told Sky Sports.
“You’ve seen his reaction when people weren’t finding him late on in the game in the last third.
“He was shooting at every opportunity, and his teammates will not have been happy with him on two or three occasions.
“But he’s always selfish. I think tonight he was super selfish. He really wants his Golden Boot.”
Asked whether all great goalscorers need to have that greed, Souness added: “They’ve got an element of it – they’ve all got an element of it.
“But I think he takes it to another level. I think Mane has fallen out with him in the past over occasions where he feels he should have passed to him to score a goal and he shot himself.”
Salah has become the fourth Liverpool player to reach 100 goal involvements in the Premier League with 73 goals and 27 assists.
But he did so in a record 104 appearances, following on from Steven Gerrard (212 games), Robbie Fowler (158) and Michael Own (148).
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