There’s no two ways about it: international football is generally a drag for most fans of club sides. It always manages to pop up in the least convenient moment, damaging momentum and often bringing back frustrating injuries with it (get well soon, Joe Gomez).
It can be easy to forget, though, how much it can mean for the players to represent their countries.
And Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp certainly seems to believe this is the case with Mohamed Salah, crediting the penalty he scored that sent Egypt to the World Cup for many of his heroics this season.
“The best thing was how Egypt celebrated getting the penalty”, Klopp told The Independent. “I’ve never seen that in my life. Germany in 1990 didn’t celebrate winning the World Cup like this. And they only got the penalty – then they thought ‘Someone actually has to shoot’. That was real pressure”.
Salah, of course, scored the penalty, and thus managed to take Egypt to their first World Cup in twenty eight years. This moment did not go unnoticed by Klopp, saying that “That’s why he got the next penalty at Liverpool – and he missed it. That was not too good. But we all have these game-changer moments in our life and maybe that was one of his. If you deliver in a situation like this, this is what can happen to you”.
Fortunately, Klopp isn’t worried about the pressure getting to the player who has unquestionably been Liverpool’s main man this season. “I don’t think it’s a proper burden”, the manager added. “I think it’s just responsibility. Nobody told him to score 30 goals otherwise we can’t be successful, and now we don’t tell him that if he doesn’t score we cannot win”.
To call Mohamed Salah’s first season at Liverpool a success would be an historic understatement. Everything the man does seems to come off, propelling himself into the category of the finest attackers in world football.
Don’t even think about it, Real Madrid.