December 30, 2017 / 7:30 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-SHOWCASE-Soccer-Klopp backs Salah to maintain scoring form

(Adds Claude Puel quotes)

LONDON, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp is confident Mohamed Salah can maintain his excellent goalscoring form after the Egyptian forward netted both goals in a 2-1 win over Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday.

The 25-year-old, signed from Roma in the summer, has now equalled Roger Hunt’s club record from 1960/61 of having scored 23 goals in all competitions before the turn of the year.

Salah is the second-highest goalscorer in the Premier League this season with 17, one behind Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, and has added another six in the Champions League.

“He can keep this standard, for sure,” Klopp told a news conference. “He’s young, improving. It’s not only about scoring goals; he’s so important for us.

“He knows and I know he couldn’t score so many without the fantastic support from the other boys. I think he can keep the standard, but that’s normal.”

Klopp substituted Salah with seven minutes left against Leicester and said that his top scorer had picked up an injury. Liverpool visit Burnley on New Year’s Day.

“He was limping – that’s never a good sign,” Klopp said. “We’ll see what he can do for the next game.”

Liverpool fell behind to Jamie Vardy’s third-minute opener against Leicester but rallied well and could have won by a far greater margin.

The result moved them on to 41 points and consolidated fourth position in the table.

“Everybody reacted the right way,” Klopp said. “It was one of the best games we’ve played so far (this season). We knew we had to continue in the second half.

“We got annoyed after missing chances but they will come again. Two fantastic goals. They felt so good and fair in this moment. I’m really happy.”

Leicester manager Claude Puel said Salah’s individual quality had been the key to his side’s defeat.

“Salah made the difference this afternoon,” he said. “The second goal was not a chance; he created it himself with his quality. We played a great team, with some fantastic players who can make the difference at any time.”

Leicester have now gone five matches without a win in all competitions but have an opportunity to end that run when they host Huddersfield Town in the Premier League on New Year’s Day.

“I’m frustrated for my squad,” he added. “We need to continue our work, but it is important to concentrate on the game on Monday and forget this game to move forward.” (Reporting by Matt Westby, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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