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Jurgen Klopp explains unusual instruction to Mo Salah during record-breaking Liverpool return

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confessed he actually told talismanic forward Mohamed Salah to stop defending during their dominant 6-1 Europa League win over Sparta Prague.

Jurgen Klopp admitted he told Mohamed Salah to “stop defending” during their 6-1 demolition of Sparta Prague.

Liverpool put on a show for the expectant Anfield faithful on Thursday night. Progression into the last eight of the Europa League was already almost a certainty, given they won the first leg in Prague 5-1, but they managed to go one better this time, putting six past the Czech outfit.

The Reds raced into a remarkable lead, with Liverpool 4-0 up inside the first 14 minutes. All three of the club’s front three in Salah, Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez managed to get on the scoresheet, as well as club academy graduate Bobby Clark, who bagged his first ever senior goal.

For all of Liverpool’s brilliance, the defending on display from their visitors was nothing short of disastrous. Sparta Prague were adamant that they would try to stick to their guns and play out from the back, but it continued to be at their detriment, unable to deal with the intense press from their hosts.

Salah made his first start for Liverpool since New Year’s Day, with much of his 2024 so far blighted by an injury sustained during the Africa Cup of Nations where he represented Egypt.

He made an instant impact in this clash, bagging a goal that ensured the 31-year-old became the first player in Liverpool’s history to score 20 goals or more across all competitions in seven successive seasons. However, after the game Klopp conceded that keeping his forward on for the full 90 was not the plan.

“Mo is a very experienced player, I told him if he had to stay on – I think it was the first time I have told any player ‘just stop defending’, that’s how it is, just don’t run in that direction anymore,” Klopp told TNT Sports.

“He nearly set up a wonderful goal, but Cody was offside. But yeah, he [Salah] is very experienced, he got easily over the line.

A fairytale fairwell for Klopp is still on the cards, with Liverpool still fighting on all three fronts having already secured the Carabao Cup last month. The Reds boss is well aware that his sides have tougher games on the horizon, but he was clearly delighted with the performance from his players.

Klopp was all smiles for ALMOST all of the contest. He even giggled to himself after Nunez was guilty of a hilarious miss, putting the ball over the bar despite being unmarked from no more than eight yards out. However, he wasn’t happy for the full 90 minutes.

The German coach talked his way into a yellow card mid-way through the second half after venting his fury over a quickly taken free-kick that stopped him from introducing Virgil van Dijk as quickly as he’d have liked.

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