Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said Mohamed Salah would “finally get recognition” if he wins this year’s Ballon d’Or, but that he has no idea whether the forward’s incredible form makes it more or less likely if he will sign a new contract at Anfield.
Salah, 29, has scored in nine of Liverpool’s 10 games in all competitions so far this season and he can score in a third successive Champions League game if he hits the target in Tuesday’s group clash against Atletico Madrid in Spain.
But with Salah still to agree a new contract to replace his existing deal, which expires in June 2023, Klopp said he has no idea if his form boosts Liverpool’s chances of extending Salah’s stay at the club.
“I don’t know,” Klopp said. ‘”We will see.”
The Liverpool was more confident about Salah’s prospects of winning the Ballon d’Or, however.
“I have no idea how exactly you win the Ballon d’Or: if it’s about being in the Champions League final, scoring the most goals, then it could be slightly difficult but if it’s about performances over the last two years then he has a chance from my point of view,” Klopp said. “Does he get the recognition finally? Internally he always got it, externally I don’t know.
“After two goals he scored now people think all of a sudden because of that he could be the best player in the world is a bit strange. He scored goals like this and performed for years at an incredibly high level.
“My concern first and foremost is that he will do it again and again what he did so far. Whatever you want to write positively about him do it because he deserves it but now let us prepare for Atletico.”
Liverpool have not won away to a Spanish club in the champions League since 2009 and Atletico go into Tuesday’s game having lost just one of their last 30 Champions League ties on home turf.
And Klopp said that Diego Simeone’s team, who include former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, have the ability to make life tough for Liverpool.
“Atleti are the best of them [those sorts of teams] because they have the best players,” Klopp said. “If you play Sevilla it was always similar atmosphere and fight, it’s a proper, proper fight.
“The problem with Atletico is the quality they have and the desire they show. Would it be the style I wanted to play? No. I couldn’t, I’m not the person for it, but we are all different and that is why it is fine.
“We will face it. It is all about winning football games but we played an an absolutely exceptional game at home against Atletico.
“We didn’t forget how bad we were there [in 2020 round-of-16 defeat] and I’m pretty sure Diego hasn’t forgotten how good we were at home, so I am pretty sure there is a way of causing them problems but you have to play a top-class game and be incredibly brave. If you don’t do that they eat you.”
ESPN’s Alex Kirkland contributed to this report.