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Mo's back to his blistering BEST.

Byline: JAMES PEARCE Liverpool FC Reporter in Paris

JURGEN KLOPP believes Mohamed Salah is back to his blistering best as Liverpool look to secure their passage into the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The Egyptian attacker will lead the charge against Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes tonight.

After last season's stunning 44-goal haul, Salah endured a slow start to the current campaign and looked short of confidence as he scored just three times in 11 appearances for the Reds. However, over the past month he has rediscovered his spark - netting six in his last seven matches for Liverpool.

Klopp says Salah just needed time to get back to his peak physically after the shoulder injury he suffered in the Champions League final and only having a short summer break due to the World Cup.

"It's not about the goalscoring, just overall performances. His body is back - the physical things he can rely on again," Klopp said.

"Of all the teams, we had the longest season together with Real Madrid. They have struggled a little bit. We both had a season two weeks longer than all the other teams. After that they all went to the World Cup. Egypt went out a little earlier but Mo played 94% or 95% fit because of the shoulder.

"He had no problem with the shoulder any more, it was not that it hurt, but being healthy does not mean you are 100%.

"He then had two, three weeks off. That is actually nothing. That is exactly the time the body needs to calm down a bit. The first three weeks of holiday for all players after such an intense season you do not even feel rest. You still have the season in your legs and mind. Then pre-season starts again."

Salah has also had to get to grips with having more pressure on his shoulders after rewriting the record books in 2017/18. Only Ian Rush has ever scored more goals for Liverpool in a season.

When he didn't hit the ground running this term and was snatching at chances, the spotlight inevitably fell on him.

Klopp added: "For the first time in his life it was clear that after scoring more than 40 goals, how do we deal with that? LIVERPOOL Champions "Obviously you all struggled a bit to deal with that. Will he score 40 goals again? You cannot score 40 goals in the first three games and how can he be convinced 100% that he scores again 40 goals? Is it even important to score 40 goals again? Of course not.

"It is just a personal situation. Do we talk about it or not? Do we leave it? He always tried everything. The only thing was his body needed time to adapt.

"Still a world class player, still a threat in a game, but in the scoring situations not the same calmness, coolness, whatever.

Since before international was completely in each clicked there.

Jurgen Mo "Since before the last international break it was completely obvious in each session, it clicked again, he's there.

"It was just a time factor. It is only that we don't give them time because we don't have the time. The season starts - 'be ready'.

"If you are in doubt easily then it could affect you, but not for one second was he in doubt and I was not in doubt. Nobody here was in doubt actually. It is all good. Even Mo Salah is a human being and he needed time. Everything is fine."

Salah boasts 13 goals in 19 Champions League matches for Liverpool - only Rush (14) and Steven Gerrard (30) have netted more for the Reds in Europe's elite club competition.

The 26-year-old will be desperate to add to his account in the French capital. Victory would ensure that Klopp's side qualify for the last 16 with a game to spare as long as Red Star Belgrade fail to win in Naples.

It promises to be some attacking shootout with Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino up against the PSG trio of Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

That potent half dozen scored 180 goals between them in 2017/18 and have already netted 57 this time around.

Klopp is a big admirer of French youngster Mbappe, who is PSG's top scorer with 13 goals so far this season.

The Reds boss tried to sign the 19-year-old World Cup winner in the summer of 2017 before he moved to Paris from Monaco in a deal worth PS162million.

the last break it obvious session, it again, he's "In that age group he is the stand-out player - a really exciting prospect," Klopp said. "It is not long ago we saw an 18-year-old playing the season he played with Monaco. It was just incredible. He looks so mature, so settled in all competitions. At that age playing a World Cup can shake you a little bit but it didn't look like that with him. He is really confident, knows his strengths.

Klopp on Salah "You cannot be 100% sure you have defended him because his speed is undefendable, he is quicker than 97% of all the other players in the world.

"If you pass in the right moment it means the space is his and he has the skills for scoring as well, he is a fantastic player.

"When you see the guys dominating the world of football like Messi and Ronaldo in the last few years, and in the years before the guys from Barcelona: Xavi and Iniesta, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, all these players. You think is there really someone coming up who can play a similar role in more difficult football - because modern football has become more difficult for these players - and you look and think 'Oh yes'. He is not the only one but he is the one everyone would now expect and if he stays healthy he will have a decent career."

Since before the last international break it was completely obvious in each session, it clicked again, he's there. Jurgen Klopp on Mo Salah

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Liverpool FC training at Melwood yesterday ahead of tonight's Champions League game against PSG COLIN LANE
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 28, 2018
Words:1031
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