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'Do we need blood?' - Klopp defends Salah over dive claims

2:05 PM IST 31/12/18
Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2018-19
The Reds boss has dismissed accusations made against the Egypt international after two controversial incidents over the festive period

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended Mohamed Salah over claims the Reds forward is a diver.

Arsenal were left furious with Salah when he went down under a challenge from Sokratis Papastathopoulos to win a penalty at Anfield on Saturday.

Salah stepped up to score the spot-kick but was confronted by Sokratis as the players entered the tunnel at half-time, with Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk stepping in to defend his team-mate.

Dejan Lovren won another penalty in a second half after being shoved by Sead Kolasinac, with Roberto Firmino scoring to complete his hat-trick in a 5-1 win for the Premier League leaders.

Just three days earlier Salah was also involved in a controversial penalty incident against Newcastle.

Salah went down after being tugged back by Magpies defender Paul Dummett, earning Liverpool their first Anfield penalty for 424 days.

Speaking after the game Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez described the incident as ‘soft' but stopped short of labelling it a dive.

The Football Association confirmed the following day that Salah would face no further action as reaction did not breach the threshold of “attempting to deceive the referee”.

In the wake of those incidents Klopp has been quick to dismiss suggestions Salah goes down in the box to easily.

Speaking about the penalty decision against Arsenal, the German said : “Do we need blood for a proper penalty? I think no.

“In that moment, if you don’t touch Mo and he makes the next step and shoots – and we know he’s pretty good at that – these are the situations.

“I have no clue about what happened around it but the referee was really close to it. We don’t have divers and that was not a dive.

"The other one [for Dejan Lovren] is not a dive. The ref decides it. In the three-and-a-half years, we have had more penalties not given when they were penalties.”

Reds defender Van Dijk has also defended Salah, revealing what the details of what he said to Sokratis as the players left the field on Saturday.  

“I saw that he went to Mo and was saying that he dived. He was attacking him a bit, but I wanted to say he didn’t dive,” said Van Dijk.

“Obviously, everyone came around us and it looked like we were fighting or something, but we weren’t. I just wanted to talk to him. But that happens in football and we move on.

“I’m protecting my team-mates and that’s normal, that’s how everyone should react and that’s what we all need to do, to back each other. That’s what I definitely do."

Klopp's side will be looking to tighten their grip on the Premier League title race when they return to action Thursday against second-placed Manchester City.