Jurgen Klopp says he won't force Mohamed Salah to stay at Liverpool

Reds manager says he can see no reason why the Egyptian would want to leave Anfield as talk of move to Barcelona or Real Madrid intensifies

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he cannot force Mohamed Salah to stay if he is unhappy at the club but questioned why any of his players would want to leave.

Salah told Spanish newspaper AS in an interview this month that he admired Real Madrid and Barcelona, fuelling talk in the British media that he was looking for a move away from Anfield.

"I think the only reason to leave Liverpool at the moment is the weather. What other reason could be there?" Klopp said at a news conference ahead of Sunday's Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion.

"This is one of the biggest clubs in the world, we pay good money ... we have a sensational stadium with outstanding supporters.

"You cannot force people to stay but that is it ... We make changes and bring players in and if a player wants to go then we cannot, probably not hold him back; it's just that I would not understand why somebody would want to go."

If Salah, 28, is unsettled it has not been reflected by his performances on the pitch this season.

He has scored 13 goals in as many league games, missing just one because of Covid-19 isolation.

It is his best start to a Premier League term, even better than his debut campaign when he went on to score 32 in 38 appearances having registered 12 goals at the same 14-match stage.

Salah was omitted from the starting XI for last week's match against Crystal Palace but still came off the bench to score twice in a 7-0 rout.

The Egypt international became Liverpool's all-time top scorer in the Champions League earlier this month in a 1-1 draw at Denmark's Midtjylland.

Klopp said Salah's comments about the two Spanish giants were not an indication of his desire to leave Liverpool.

"If you ask any player in the world who is not playing for Barcelona or Madrid if he can imagine playing there one day and he said: 'No, Spanish football is not for me,' why would he say that?

"Mo is a very important player for me obviously but this story around is not."

Liverpool are top of the table with 31 points from 14 games ahead of Sunday's match at home to West Brom.

The Premier League champions have a hectic schedule over the festive period with a home game against Newcastle United next Wednesday and Southampton the following Monday.

"All the boys were in a good moment, that is why we have the points we have so far," Klopp said.

"Now it is much more important we really keep going. Everyone knows the toughest point of the season is now ahead of us.

"The Christmas period is always tough so we have to make sure we get through this with the right results."

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