LONDON — Jurgen Klopp hailed Mohamed Salah as a “super special player” after his 200th Liverpool goal helped the Reds to victory at Crystal Palace.
Ten years and nine months after making his English Premier League debut for Chelsea, Salah wrote his name in the competition’s books against Crystal Palace.
“Pretty impressive,” Klopp said of Salah’s record. “That was pretty much the best moment to score it, to be 100 per cent honest. Incredible number for a super special player. I don’t know how many times he’s saved us.
Salah’s 14th goal this term made him the fifth player to score 200 for Liverpool in all competitions after Ian Rush (346), Roger Hunt (285), Gordon Hodgson (241) and Billy Liddell (228).
“To score 200 goals, you only achieve this if you are a super, super special player,” the German manager told TNT. “I don’t know how often he’s saved us with a goal he scored in the right moment.
“Now that’s off (his) shoulders. When you are close to (a milestone) the mindset changes a little bit, because when you have 199 it is different to 198. Now we can go for the next 100.”
Offering his reaction, Salah told TNT Sports: “I think the most important thing is that we won the game.
“It was really tough day but, of course, when you win and score goals, it’s a great feeling. I’m happy for the record and also happy for the team to win the game.”
In his 247th Premier League appearance, the Egypt star also reached 150 goals in the competition, including two scored for Chelsea, putting him in the all-time top-10 list level alongside Michael Owen.
The Egyptian drew the Reds level in the 76th minute at Selhurst Park to bring up his double century, cancelling out Jean-Philippe Mateta’s opener from the penalty spot.
“The most important thing was that we won the game. It’s a great feeling. I’m happy for the record and that we won the game,” Salah said.
Substitute Harvey Elliott then drilled in a powerful effort in the first minute of stoppage time to secure all three points.
The win moved Klopp’s men to the top of the Premier League standings ahead of Arsenal’s visit to Aston Villa.
Salah continued: “I see the mentality like you just keep fighting until the end, and we did that in this game, the last game and the game before. It’s something positive that we take from that.
Salah has scored 14 goals in all competitions this season, 11 of which have come in 16 Premier League games.
“Of course we have like a new team now because there are six, seven players new in the starting line-up. We just need to give them our advice – me, Virgil and the guys there. They’re learning a lot and they’re really nice guys and just able to learn.
“I take that from 2019, I think there are similarities but, of course, the other guys also achieve a lot – we need to give them their credit. But I’m sure we can do something special this year.”
Salah has won three Premier League golden boots, the first in 2017/18 when he scored a career-best 32 goals in a single league campaign during his first season back in the English top flight.
He shared the second and third in 2018/19 and 2021/22 with 22 and 23 goals respectively.
Liverpool leaves it late
Initially, it seemed Klopp’s dislike for the kick-off time would be renewed as Liverpool struggled to find any rhythm in wet and windy conditions in south London.
Liverpool were fortunate not to fall behind when Jefferson Lerma’s close-range effort forced a superb save from Alisson Becker, with the rebound hitting the post before it was hacked off the line by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Palace was awarded a penalty when Odsonne Edouard was bundled over Virgil van Dijk, but Will Hughes had clearly fouled Wataru Endo before passing to the forward.
Referee Andy Madley was told to consult the pitchside monitor and overturned his penalty decision.
For the first time in the league this season, Klopp’s side failed to muster a single shot on target in a dismal first-half display that ended fittingly with Alexander-Arnold misplacing a simple pass.
Palace deservedly took the lead in the 57th minute as Jarell Quansah’s challenge on Mateta was deemed worthy of a penalty after Madley checked the monitor.
To Klopp’s bewilderment, VAR only intervened to prompt the decision several moments after the foul.
Liverpool was furious but Mateta was unfazed, barely taking a run-up as he dispatched the spot-kick past Alisson with ease.
But luck was on Liverpool’s side as Palace forward Ayew was dismissed for a soft second booking in the 75th minute and within 60 seconds the visitors were level.
If the sending off had an element of good fortune for Liverpool, there was more to come as Cody Gakpo’s cross was only cleared to Salah, whose shot from 10 yards took a wicked deflection as it flashed past wrong-footed keeper Sam Johnstone.
Liverpool finally had some momentum and their late siege produced a winner in the first minute of stoppage time.
Elliott took possession 30 yards from goal and swerved away from his marker before unleashing a superb strike that beat Palace substitute keeper Remi Matthews at his near post.
In the final seconds, Alisson had to save from Joachim Andersen to preserve Liverpool’s hard-fought success.