Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said Mohamed Salah remains an essential part of his team and there is "nothing there" regarding the speculation linking the Egyptian with a move to Saudi champions Al Ittihad.
Reports emerged on Thursday night claiming Ittihad had renewed their interest in Salah and were prepared to double their previous contract offer for the 31-year-old forward. The previous offer, when Ittihad had identified Salah as a top target earlier in the summer, was understood to be worth €180 million over two years.
Ittihad are reportedly ready to make an opening transfer bid of £52m ($65m) to Liverpool in order to begin contract talks with Salah, although the Premier League club are reluctant to lose their star player this summer.
Speaking on Friday during his pre-match press conference, ahead of Liverpool's Premier League match at Newcastle United, Klopp was asked about the latest Salah speculation.
“Talk about media stories, nothing to talk about from my point of view. He is a Liverpool player," Klopp said. “He is essential and will be. There is nothing there. My life philosophy is, I think about a problem when I have it.”
Salah's agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, had earlier this month dismissed speculation his client was close to leaving Liverpool for Saudi, posting on social media: “If we considered leaving [Liverpool] this year, we wouldn’t have renewed the contract last summer,” Issa wrote. “Mohamed remains committed to LFC.”
And it appears, according to Klopp, that his stance has not changed. When asked if Salah is still committed to Liverpool, the German replied: "100 per cent."
Salah, who signed a new three-year deal with Liverpool last summer, will again be a key player for Klopp this season, and the Egyptian opened his Premier League account last weekend in the 3-1 win over Bournemouth.
Liverpool played more than 30 minutes of that game with 10-men after Alexis Mac Allister - the Argentine World Cup-winner signed from Brighton in the summer - was harshly sent off. The midfielder's red card has since been rescinded on appeal and he is available to face Newcastle at St James' Park.
“Very good news on Alexis Mac Allister, massive [relief]," Klopp said. "I was pretty sure it wasn’t a red card, but that does not mean our people were going to be successful.
"The picture were pretty clear it should not of been a red card, harsh tackles should always be punished but it was not a harsh tackle in a situation, it was fast."
Premier League predictions
Only a couple of seasons ago, Liverpool would have been overwhelming favourites against Newcastle on Sunday, but the transformation the Magpies have undergone under Saudi ownership and with Eddie Howe in the dugout has been remarkable.
After finishing fourth in the Premier League last season and securing Champions League football, Newcastle began the current campaign with an emphatic win over Aston Villa before a narrow defeat to treble winners Manchester City.
Klopp is therefore expecting a tough challenge, saying: “Incredibly strong team, in the Champions League and fully deserved with super development under Eddie Howe and smart business.
"[New signings] Sandro Tonali and Harvey Barnes are really good business; they have a super intense style and massive atmosphere there so this is a tough one for sure.
"They played a really good first game where Aston Villa were good as well, the result didn’t reflect the full game."