Former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton was forced to eat his own words about Mohamed Salah during Saturday’s win over Everton. The Reds legend hit out at the Egypt superstar and questioned whether he should have been substituted when the score was at 0-0.
Liverpool beat Everton 2-0 to maintain Jurgen Klopp’s fantastic record in Merseyside derbies. Salah scored both goals to lead his team into third place in the Premier League table.
Everton made life tricky for the Reds despite going down to 10 men before half-time. But Liverpool eventually broke the Toffees’ resistance, with Michael Keane adjudged to have handled in his own area with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Salah did the rest from the penalty spot before finishing the game off deep into stoppage time on the counter-attack as Everton pushed for an equaliser. Houghton was on co-commentary duty for talkSPORT at Anfield and had criticised Salah earlier in the match.
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The 61-year-old, who won two league titles and two FA Cups in over 200 appearances for the Reds, was shocked at Salah’s level of performance when the game was goalless. Houghton said: “He’s had such a poor game Mo Salah, it’s unbelievable.
“I never want to take off a player who can win you it but, I’ve got to be honest with you, what Mo has given Liverpool today, or what he’s not given Liverpool, I’ve not seen him play this bad in a long, long time.
“He just looks so much off the pace of the game and his decision-making has been poor. He’s just forcing it at the moment and when you’re having a bad time you do that, you try a difficult ball rather than a simple one.”
Salah went on to prove Houghton wrong and came up with the goods when Liverpool needed him. Klopp admitted afterwards it wasn’t the forward’s best performance but ultimately provided what he has done on such a regular occurrence since signing in 2017.
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Klopp said: “Look, what I love most about Mo is… well, maybe mostly I love the numbers! But I think that Mo Salah played for us an incredible amount of fantastic games.
“Today was not his best game but then [still] being that clinical with the penalty and then staying in the situation, that’s probably his biggest quality, and I love that. We need someone who can bring the ball over the line, and he was that again. I couldn’t respect that fact more.
“It’s absolutely outstanding, the numbers are crazy. He will never stop, that is his nature and that’s really cool for us.”
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