LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp embraces two-goal hero Mohamed Salah after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC on New Year's Day at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-2. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp confirms Mo Salah “ready to start” – and hints at Liverpool changes

Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Mohamed Salah is ready to start Thursday’s Europa League meeting with Sparta Prague, though playing the entire 90 minutes is not in the plans.

The forward’s last start for the Reds came in a 4-2 win over Newcastle on New Year’s Day, right before he headed out to represent Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations.

He subsequently sustained a hamstring injury at the tournament, before his comeback at club level was halted after just one substitute outing as a result of a recurrence.

However, having appeared from the bench in Liverpool’s last two outings, Salah is now ready to come back into the starting line-up, according to his manager.

Klopp said: “I am not sure he is ready for 90 minutes or that we should do 90 minutes, but he is ready to start. That’s how it is.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 17, 2024: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah on the bench during the FA Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at the Brentford Community Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“He would’ve been ready to start the last game but you don’t know how long does it makes sense. It is always the problem when players come back.

“I can’t remember a game where I thought ‘Ah Mo Salah cannot play – no problem’ – it has never happened so it is not cool not to have him.

“But there was a game on last Sunday and there are 10 more Premier League games and hopefully a lot more cup and European games, so they are as important. Mo is completely fine with that.

“Would he have loved to play a bit longer? Probably yes. But I cannot before the game I cannot decide when we do these kind of things. But he is ready to start.

“Shall he be 90 minutes on the pitch? It depends how it looks in the moment. But we all know Mo usually can play game after game after game.

“Now he was out for a surprisingly long time but now he is back and we have to make sure we can count on him consistently again.”

With Liverpool leading their last-16 tie 5-1 on aggregate after a thumping victory in Prague, it has been suggested that Klopp might rotate heavily.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - Thursday, March 7, 2024: Liverpool substitutes (L-R) James McConnell, Mateusz Musialowski, Fabian Mrozak, captain Virgil van Dijk, Dominik Szoboszlai, Mohamed Salah before the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 1st Leg match between AC Sparta Praha and Liverpool FC at Stadion Letná. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But, while he hinted at changes in claiming he will select the ‘best legs’ for the game, the German underlined the importance of maintaining recent good form.

He added: “Sometimes you have to chase a game and if we lost the first one 1-0, you can’t ignore that, but even then you just have to win the [second] game first and see how much the result means.

“For us, it just means we want to play the best possible football game, that’s how we decided the line-up.

“I couldn’t tell you in this moment what I will do if I wanted, because after that I go to the training ground and in these times you wait until the last second and somebody tells you he has a niggle here and he has a problem there and he might need an extra day.

“We had it yesterday [Tuesday] already with a few players who needed an extra day, so let’s see how it looks today and then I make my decision about a line-up.

“But the idea of the line-up will be you have the best legs for that game because that’s what we need.

“Because we have to ignore the result I would say but not the performance and performance-wise they had massive chances against us, they caused us massive problems in moments, Caoimh had to make a few outstanding saves.

“That’s in my mind, not how we scored the goals because they were mainly individual quality with a few good football situations.

“So we need to keep rhythm for that part of the season, it’s not about on and off, it’s about keeping the rhythm and keep going and don’t think about the next game on Sunday even when the opponent is Manchester United.”