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Klopp: Salah back in contention to face Brentford

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says Mohamed Salah is fit, back in full training and in contention to return to the team for Saturday’s lunchtime trip to Brentford.

The Egyptian returned early from the Africa Cup of Nations with a hamstring injury but now looks set to play again for the Reds for the first time since scoring twice against Newcastle on New Year’s Day.

“Mo is back in full training that brings him automatically into contention, of course,” said Klopp about his leading scorer, who has 14 goals and eight assists in the Premier League this season.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game from the penalty spot
Image: Salah has not played for Liverpool since New Year’s Day

There was more positive team news for Liverpool, with Ibrahima Konate back from suspension, Joe Gomez fit again and Alisson recovered from an illness. Conor Bradley also returns to the squad following the death of his father.

However, Thiago Alcantara and Trent Alexander-Arnold remain out. Earlier this week it was confirmed Alexander-Arnold would not be back in time from his knee problem to play for Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea on February 25 and Klopp says he is also doubtful Dominik Szoboszlai will be back from his thigh injury for that Wembley fixture.

“I’m not sure Dom has a chance for the final but maybe,” said the Liverpool boss.

Klopp also hit back at suggestions Alexander-Arnold’s latest knee problem may have been impacted by him returning too quickly from a previous knee injury.

“I got the news that there was a discussion we might have forced Trent back because of the setbacks,” he said. “Nobody wants that. Different cases, different scenarios. As long as I’m here we never forced anybody back.

“We always try to catch the earliest moment [when you can bring a player back]. When we catch that moment no one speaks about it, with [Alexis Mac Allister], with Diogo [Jota]. The last decision is always by the player.

“We’ll never know if it would have happened anyway [Alexander-Arnold’s latest injury]. Very, very unlucky and unfortunate.

“We have to bring the boys back as soon as possible – but never sooner than they are ready.”

Klopp: Brentford super tricky!

Looking ahead to Saturday’s trip to west London, Klopp says their Premier League title rivals will see this as a banana skin for his side. “I’m pretty sure all the teams who are playing with us up there in that region of the table would say – if they do it – ‘Ok, that’s a game Liverpool might struggle’ so we have to make sure Brentford has more problems with us than we have with them.”

And he expects the Bees to be a formidable challenge for his side.

“Super tricky,” he said, when asked about the game. “The way they play, the way they set it up. With or without (Ivan) Toney makes a difference, the players back from the Africa Cup of Nations makes a difference. (Neal) Maupay finding his feet makes a difference. Well organised, set-pieces, cheeky, rhythm breaks…

“How can you defend Brentford for 95 minutes by avoiding any kind of set-pieces? Very good compact defending, brave counter-attacking. A well-coached team. And the atmosphere in the stadium is really good.

“But where we want to end up, we have to be on top of our game as well. We have to be the team where they think about us in a similar way.

“I’m fine with the resilience we’ve shown recently. Now we have to be at our best. If you want to win at Brentford you have to be at your best.”

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