Klopp makes U-turn on Mohamed Salah after handing Virgil Van Dijk the captaincy

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Klopp makes U-turn on Mohamed Salah after handing Virgil Van Dijk the captaincy
Klopp makes U-turn on Mohamed Salah after handing Virgil Van Dijk the captaincy

Jurgen Klopp has named Mohamed Salah as one of the players in Liverpool's new leadership group as the Reds boss responds to losing two leaders in Jordan Henderson and James Milner this summer.

Liverpool have long been able to rely on the aforementioned duo as two players who can be turned to when the going gets tough, but with former captain Henderson now in Saudi Arabia and Milner joining Brighton, Klopp has had to turn to other senior figures in his dressing room.

Virgil van Dijk is the new skipper, while Trent Alexander-Arnold is the vice-captain, but it is Salah's inclusion in the new five-man senior leadership group that has raised some eyebrows. Not because the Egyptian isn't qualified, but because Klopp himself has previously had reservations about the idea of his number 11 donning the armband.

Back in 2020, Klopp opted to name Alexander-Arnold over Salah as captain for a Champions League clash against Midtjylland that all four of Van Dijk, Alisson, Henderson and Robertson were all unavailable for. It was a decision that did not go down well with the forward, who went public with his frustration over the matter.

"Honestly, I was very disappointed," Salah told Diario AS. "I was expecting to be the captain. But it's a manager's decision, so I accept it." At the time, the comments sparked speculation touting the Egypt international with the Anfield exit.

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Klopp soon addressed the matter, explaining: "I was captain for a long time in my career, and what a heck of a job it is because there are not a lot of benefits you get, just a lot of work with all the things around, I didn't feel or do feel the importance of being captain.

"Yes, we have a captain like Hendo and that is important, but to be a captain for one game. I didn't realise how important that can be to players because in this world now, everything is a big story. I didn't realise it was that big a story for Trent. The rule here is there is a players' committee and it is Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum.

Klopp makes U-turn on Mohamed Salah after handing Virgil Van Dijk the captaincyJurgen Klopp is not entirely convinced by the idea of Mohamed Salah as a first-choice captain

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The Reds boss added: "So I didn't make it that complicated, I just gave Trent the armband. And I spoke to Mo about it after the game and when I realised it didn't work out that well, I clarified that and he said it again in the interview, so not a problem for me.

"He said he was disappointed and I didn't do it on purpose, I just did what I did. If I made a mistake then it was that Divock Origi was not the captain."

Fast forward three years and Klopp has spoken glowingly over the prospect of Salah's leadership qualities when explaining why he was named as one of the five senior figures. However, the German did also add that it remains a different task for his number 11.

"Mo, captain of Egypt, one of the best players to ever play for this club. But strikers are different, strikers have to be different – we all benefit from that. So we need him as a role model, we need Mo as the one who leads the line, if you want, who is the first to press, who's the first to all these things on the pitch," he told the club website.

After waxing lyrical about Salah's influence off the pitch, Klopp again leaned into the theory that for all of his positives, the former Basel and Chelsea ace is not quite first-choice captain material.

The Liverpool manager added: "I think for all the duties a Liverpool captain has to do, I think the first three suit better to them, and then the other two can be what they are and always were and can be themselves."

Josh O'Brien

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