Jurgen Klopp has downplayed the idea that Mohamed Salah could leave Liverpool before ironically offering to help anyone who wants to quit the club because they won’t be in the Champions League next season.
Liverpool already know before the final day of Premier League matches on Sunday that they will be finishing fifth in the table. After coming as runners up last season, it has been a disappointing downturn in fortunes.
Klopp’s side will be in the Europa League, not the Champions League, next season. It prompted Salah to declare their season a failure, which the Liverpool manager has had to respond to.
Klopp has confirmed he has no fears that Salah might leave this summer, despite being linked in recent months with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.
The German tactician said: “No worries, no. I only heard what he said but I couldn’t read anything that could lead in that direction.
“Obviously Mo loves being here and Mo was part of it. He said apologies for what ‘we’ did – not apologies for ‘what the other guys did, but I had to go with them’. It is all fine.”
But Klopp only wants committed players at Anfield, so said he would gladly drive away anyone who doesn’t want to play for them without Champions League football on offer.
Klopp continued: “If ever a player would come to me and said, ‘oh, we didn’t qualify for the Champions League, I have to leave’, I would drive him to the other club myself.
“I would take the key, [and say] ‘come in the car, where do you want to go, I drive you’.
“That would be something I never could understand. It is, I would say, ‘oh, we didn’t qualify for the Champions League, I need to work in the Champions League so I go’.”
Klopp reacts to Liverpool finishing fifth
Klopp was speaking in view of Liverpool’s last game of the season, which will be against relegated Southampton on Sunday.
Offering his thoughts on where they are finishing, Klopp said: “I am responsible for this mess, or whatever, so you cannot go in these moments.
“It is not the case with Mo, not at all, and nobody else told me. They ask if they can have a longer holiday or whatever – but nobody asks me if after the holiday they have to come back.
“So that was not in our conversation. I saw him now in the canteen and he was smiling. I don’t know for which reason as I didn’t ask him, but he is not in a bad mood. That’s it.
“We didn’t point fingers at each other. That’s all good. If you don’t qualify for the Champions League, the best place you can possibly end up is fifth, so that’s what we did.
“If you’d have asked me 10 games ago if that was possible, I’d have said no. That the boys did that is really good but it’s not perfect.
“We didn’t end up fifth because of the last 10 games, we ended up there because of the lack of consistency before that. We didn’t deliver what everybody wanted or expected but we are still really united, that’s the good thing about it.”