Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he is “very positive” over contract talks with Mohamed Salah, stating that the forward wants to stay at the Premier League club.
The Egypt international, 29, has fewer than 18 months left on his current deal and in an interview published this week said he was not asking “for crazy stuff”.
Reports have suggested that Salah, who has won the Champions League and Premier League with Liverpool, is looking for a weekly salary of more than £300,000 ($410,000).
Klopp has said in the past that the contract is not something that can be sorted out quickly but he remains upbeat.
“I know that Mo wants to stay,” he said on Wednesday, on the eve of the first leg of Liverpool’s League Cup semi-final against Arsenal.
“We want Mo to stay. That’s where we are. It takes time,” he said. “I think it is in a good place. I’m very positive about it. The fans are not as nervous as you (the media) are.
“They know the club and know the people dealing with things here. We cannot say anything about it.”
Salah, who has scored 111 goals in 165 Premier League matches for Liverpool, and is on track for a third Golden Boot in five years, said in an interview with GQ magazine that he wanted to be appreciated.
“I want to stay, but it’s not in my hands,” he said. “It’s in their hands. They know what I want. I’m not asking for crazy stuff.”
Liverpool’s owner, the Fenway Sports Group, is reluctant to hand out lucrative contracts to players once they reach 30, which Salah does in June.
Klopp, however, sees no reason why the forward, currently on Africa Cup of Nations duty, cannot remain at the top well into his mid-30s in the same way that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have done.
“I am as convinced as you can be,” the German said. “He is a world-class player, unbelievable player, great boy, did a lot of great stuff for Liverpool.
“His character, his determination, it’s the way he trains. His attitude, his work-rate is incredible, first in, last out, doing the right stuff.”
– ‘False positives’ –
Thursday’s game against Arsenal should have been the second leg of the League Cup semi-final but it is now the first, with last week’s meeting at the Emirates called off following a “severe” coronavirus outbreak at Liverpool.
Klopp said on Sunday that there had in fact been “a lot of false positives” but he clarified those remarks on Wednesday.
“A false positive is a positive test,” he said. “You get a test result back positive and, when you are able to do a retest a day, a day-and-a-half later you get a result that makes it look like a false positive because this test was a negative.
“It doesn’t change anything for your quarantine but you need to prove that wrong or right (so) you have to do a third test and between the first and second and second and third tests you cannot use the players.”
Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold and goalkeeper Alisson Becker have returned to training after Covid absences and will rejoin the squad for the semi-final at Anfield.