Jurgen Klopp Talks Mohamed Salah, Fabinho Rumours Before Watford vs. Liverpool

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2018

Liverpool's German coach Jurgen Klopp (L) gives instructions to Liverpool's Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Champions League Group C second-leg football match between Red Star Belgrade and Liverpool FC at the Rajko Mitic Stadium in Belgrade on November 6, 2018. (Photo by Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp hit back at talk Mohamed Salah should leave Liverpool and rubbished rumours around Fabinho ahead of the Reds' Premier League trip to Watford on Saturday.

Egypt manager Javier Aguirre recently suggested Salah may benefit from leaving Liverpool if they don't start winning titles soon, an opinion Klopp took issue with in Friday's pre-match press conference, per Kristian Walsh of the Liverpool Echo:

"I would say if he [Aguirre] doesn't win titles in the next two years, he should move country. I don't know why people say things like that. Obviously I don't agree, but it's a free world and he can say whatever he wants. That's good actually."

He also branded rumours linking summer signing Fabinho with a premature departure to Juventus or AC Milan "crazy," hinting the midfielder will start to play a bigger role in the side as Liverpool enter the busy Christmas period, per the Echo's James Pearce:

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Klopp on Fabinho: "He has played 3 of the last 4 I think. Now is the most intense period of the year. Of course he won't leave. It would be completely crazy."

Liverpool's clash against Watford is the first of 10 crucial fixtures the Reds face before the end of the year.

They meet Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday but cannot afford to take any Premier League match easily as they aim to keep pace with leaders Manchester City, who are currently two points ahead of Liverpool.

Fortunately for Klopp, he has almost a full squad to work with. The German manager confirmed Jordan Henderson is available again after picking up a hamstring injury on international duty, but Adam Lallana is not fit, per Pearce:

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Klopp on Henderson: "He's ready to play. We have pretty much a full squad apart from Adam Lallana, he has a minor thing."

Meanwhile, Klopp revealed Naby Keita was tired when he returned from international duty with Guinea—perhaps an indication he won't start against Watford—and he gave his assessment of how the 23-year-old has settled since moving to Anfield in the summer, per Walsh:

"His start was really good and then average. That's how it is. I watched his game [for Guinea] and seen a yellow surface. It was a bouncy game. He came back tired. There's three stops on the way back, so that's not cool.

"He trained yesterday and was completely fine. Naby can improve and learn the language, but it's a long-term project. We will use him."

Sadio Mane was also on international duty during the break, turning out for Senegal in their 1-0 defeat of Equatorial Guinea last Saturday.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the 26-year-old has agreed a new long-term contract with Liverpool, a move Klopp hailed as a "big sign" of the club's progress in recent years, per Pearce:

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Klopp on Mane: "It's not like I say, good morning Sadio, you're world class. I am really happy that he's signed his contract - it's a big sign."

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Klopp on Mane: "It shows the change in the club in the past few years. Before players in a good moment felt like they had to leave the club."

Liverpool can't afford to give City an inch in the coming weeks, as Pep Guardiola's side have the ability to run away with the title. That means the Reds must win on Saturday. The corresponding fixtures last season at Vicarage Road ended in a 3-3 draw in August 2017, but Liverpool subsequently thrashed Watford 5-0 at Anfield in March.

It is the more recent result Klopp and Liverpool will take confidence from, as well as their impeccable recent defensive record, which has seen them concede just five goals in 12 Premier League games this season.