EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J — Jurgen Klopp said he had no concerns about fielding Mohamed Salah for the first time for Liverpool since injuring his shoulder, as the Egyptian made an instant impact on his return to the side.
Salah scored 52 seconds into his first appearance of Liverpool’s preseason after coming off the bench in the second half of Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Manchester City in the International Champions Cup.
It was the Egyptian’s first outing in a Liverpool shirt since he was forced to come off in the first half of the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid back in May.
“I said before the game, it’s not that he has problems — he has no problems,” Klopp said at his postmatch news conference. “He only needs to get used to all the different things.
“We do a lot with the shoulder to strengthen the muscles and all that stuff. Usually you don’t do anything with the shoulder but in rehab you feel this and feel that, and you need to learn that’s normal.
“He is in that moment but he has absolutely no issues, I was not concerned about it otherwise he wouldn’t have played.
“He came in and scored after pretty much 35 seconds. He had a big impact together with Sadio [Mane] and Dom [Solanke], and the midfield with Marko [Grujic], Pedro [Chirivella] and Ben [Woodburn] played fantastic. Both full-backs were then really involved in the offensive situations, which we didn’t have too much in the first half. Both centre-halves were there.
“Nat Phillips on this level is surprised by himself, that’s really cool; Raggy [Ragnar Klavan] did well; and Caoimhin [Kelleher] had a nice save. So it was really a nice second half which helped us a lot because we all see it’s still there, it’s all good.
“We only need to keep on working and make sure that in two weeks we have fresher legs than tonight.”
Man City took the lead in the 57th minute at MetLife Stadium through Leroy Sane before Salah’s introduction five minutes later injected life into Jurgen Klopp’s team and the crowd of 52,635.
The forward headed in Rafael Camacho’s cross to level proceedings and then went close on two occasions. Half-time substitute Mane scored the eventual winner from the penalty spot deep into injury time.
“The second half pleased me,” Klopp said. “The first half not so much. Preseason is a strange period. It’s really difficult for the boys, to see how they react in all the sessions we do.
“The first half we had a lot of big legs, eh? There was tiredness, no freshness, nothing. Then the problem is the formation is usually good for playing football, but then you need depth in your game. We didn’t have that, we didn’t offer it.
“We saw the difference when Sadio came on, because now you can play balls in behind and make life difficult for the opponent.
“With this, and then bringing in the fresh legs on 60 minutes, we decided to play football and that changed the game.
“It was important that a lot of players could play 60 minutes for the first time, in difficult circumstances. The surface was obviously difficult.”