Mohamed Salah believes Liverpool possess a similar mentality to their last title-winning side after his 200th goal for the Reds sparked a 2-1 comeback over 10-man Crystal Palace.
Jurgen Klopp’s men failed to register a shot on target in the first half at Selhurst Park, where the hosts were hoping to bounce back from a disappointing midweek defeat to Bournemouth after which boss Roy Hodgson pleaded for disillusioned fans not to abandon ship.
The crowd were boosted by the goalless first half and Jean-Philippe Mateta’s spot kick to open the scoring after the break, but both mood and momentum took a hit when Jordan Ayew was sent off for a second yellow in the 75th minute and strikes from Salah and Harvey Elliott denied them any points.
Salah, who became just the fifth player to reach a double-century of goals for Liverpool with his 150th Premier League goal, told TNT: “I think the most important thing is that we won the game. It was really tough. When we win the game and I score goals it’s a great feeling. I’m happy for the record and for the team to win the game.
“I see the mentality. Just keep fighting until the end. We did it this game, last game and the game before. It’s something positive we can take from that. Of course we have like a new team, six or seven new players in the starting line. We just need to give them our advice.
“They are learning a lot and they are really nice guys. There are similarities from 2019, but of course the other guys achieve a lot and we have to give them credit. But I am sure we can do something special this year.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who characterised the Reds’ first 75 minutes as “horrendous”, revealed staff had been travelling with a shirt to mark the milestone moment for the past two weeks, and was relieved to finally hand it to the 31-year-old in the visitors’ dressing room at Selhurst Park.
He said: “That’s pretty much the best moment to score it to be 100 per cent honest. It’s an incredible number for a super, super special player. I don’t know how often he’s saved us with a goal he scored in the right moment. It was a pretty loud reception in the dressing room when I gave him the shirt.
“Now that’s off [his] shoulders because when you have 199 it is probably different to 198, so now we can go for the next 100.”
The mood was decidedly different in the Palace dressing room.
Palace boss Roy Hodgson said Ayew’s sending off was unfair and the player was “upset and disappointed”.
Add new injuries to forward Odsonne Edouard (knee), goalkeeper Sam Johnstone (calf) and midfielder Jefferson Lerma (hamstring) alongside Ayew’s suspension and Palace – already missing influential players including Eberechi Eze and Tyrick Mitchell – are facing a fitness crisis ahead of their trip to Manchester City.
Though Hodgson opened his press conference asking journalists not to characterise his mood, he later conceded: “If you want to describe my mood as disillusioned you’ve probably chosen the right word.”
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