Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has explained why Mohamed Salah played the duration of the club’s Champions League clash against Midtjylland on Wednesday night.
The German has spoken out in his opposition to fixture congestion this season but elected to field the Egypt international for the duration of the trip to Midtjylland.
He has, however, defended his decision to not substitute one of his star players despite the match, that ended in a 1-1 draw, counting for little, with the Reds having already qualified for the last 16.
“You can make changes but you need a few key positions,” Klopp told the media. “It could have been one of the other three regular forwards to play up front for 90 minutes as well.
“In the last line, that was the reason why Fabinho played 45 minutes there. In midfield, usually it would probably have been Naby Keita but he hasn’t played that often so couldn’t fulfil the role and needs minutes now again.
“That was the decision for Mo and how the game developed and how the game looked, Mo looked fine so that’s why we didn’t take him off.
“Even though players don’t play that much, it is difficult to get through 90 minutes after a pretty long time when you don’t play 90 minutes.
“I was in contact with Mo and he didn’t have any issues, which is why he stayed on the pitch.”
Salah has been one of the most intensely worked of Liverpool’s players this season and has not featured in only two of the club’s 20 matches.
He missed the 3-0 win over Leicester City in the Premier League while he sat out a 7-2 Carabao Cup win over Lincoln.
Salah, meanwhile, netted in the midweek game to become Liverpool’s most prolific Champions League scorer of all time.
“It’s a great feeling to be the top scorer for the club, it’s something I’m proud of,” he told BT Sport after achieving the landmark.
“I need to keep going with that, score more goals, make the gap bigger between me and the others!”
Liverpool’s next challenge is a trip to struggling Fulham on Sunday before they face Tottenham and Crystal Palace prior to Christmas.
Klopp’s men presently lie second in the Premier League table, trailing Spurs only on goal difference.