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Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah refused to be drawn on his protracted contract negotiations but insisted he will not be heading out of the club this summer.

With just over 12 months remaining on his contract, speculation will undoubtedly increase about the Egypt international’s future.

Saturday’s Champions League final opponents Real Madrid have missed out on signing Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe in recent weeks and Salah’s form over his five years at Anfield would make him a prime target for the LaLiga side as an alternative.

But, while there still remains plenty of work to do for Liverpool to get a new deal for the 29-year-old over the line, they have some time as he has committed himself for another season at least.

“I am staying next season for sure, I am staying next season,” said the Egyptian.

“I don’t focus on the contract. I don’t want to be selfish. I said that two months ago – it is about the team now.

“I am just focused with the team. I want the Champions League again. I want to see Hendo (captain Jordan Henderson) with the trophy again and hopefully he will give it to me after.”

Salah has mixed memories from his two Champions League final experiences, having been forced off with injury in his first in 2018 – coincidentally against Real Madrid – after a clash with Sergio Ramos damaged his shoulder and then winning a year later against Tottenham in Madrid.

The forward admitted his experience in Kiev, when his dreams were shattered by injury, remains a difficult memory.

He has already spoken of a revenge mission against the Spanish club, with 2018 still in his mind.

“I remember when I went off, it was the worst moment in my career. I was really down at that time,” he added.

“We had a good season and came to Champions League final and then I went off.

“It was the worst thing to happen for a player. I knew the result from hospital. We couldn’t lose that way.

“I’m very motivated after what happened with Madrid last time. And, after what happened on Sunday (missing out on the Premier League by a single point), everyone is motivated to win the Champions League. Everybody is excited for it.”

While Salah’s deal will be top of the agenda once the final is over, he is not the only one whose contract expires in 2023.

Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, who make up Jurgen Klopp’s original famed forward line, in addition to midfielder Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also have deals entering their final 12 months.

Salah, Mane and Firmino will all be over 30 by the time next season starts and the rejuvenation of Liverpool’s attacking options has already begun with the arrival of Diogo Jota in September 2020 and Luis Diaz in January.

However, manager Klopp said the outcome of final would not have any bearing on contract negotiations.

“No, not at all. What, if we win it they want to go? We are in talks with all the players, it is just not the moment to talk about the results of these talks, none of them are sitting there not knowing what we are planning,” he said.

“No, that would mean we would have to have negative talks, no.

“There is just not the time, we play every three days. The players have this idea, we have this idea, sometimes they match immediately, sometimes not and then we work together.

“We have known each other for ages.”

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Everton boss Frank Lampard has been charged by the Football Association following his comments after his side’s defeat in the Merseyside derby last month.

Lampard claimed Liverpool would have been awarded a spot-kick had Mohamed Salah gone down like Anthony Gordon did in a challenge that referee Stuart Attwell did not penalise.

Gordon, who had been booked for diving in the first half at Anfield, fell after apparent contact from Joel Matip, but Attwell neither awarded a penalty nor issued a second yellow card.

The Toffees subsequently contacted the Professional Game Match Officials Board for a second time this season with concerns over the decision.

Lampard said in his post-match interview: “It is a penalty for me. You don’t get them here. If that was Mo Salah at the other end he gets a penalty. I’m not trying to create conflict; it’s just the reality of football.

“I have played in teams in the top half of the league – you get them. That was a penalty for sure. It’s a clear foul.”

The FA has taken exception to those comments, citing an implication of “bias and/or attack the integrity of the match referee or referees generally”.

An FA statement read: “Frank Lampard has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to post-match media comments that he made following Everton FC’s Premier League match against Liverpool FC on Sunday 24th April.

“It is alleged the manager’s comments constitute improper conduct as they imply bias and/or attack the integrity of the match referee – or referees generally – and/or bring the game into disrepute contrary to FA Rule E3.1.

“Frank Lampard has until Monday 9 May 2022 to provide a response.”

In March, the club received an apology, following another official complaint, from PGMOL chief Mike Riley following the failure to award a handball against Rodri in the home defeat to Manchester City.

On that occasion referee Paul Tierney was unsighted and the VAR, Chris Kavanagh, decided there was insufficient evidence to show the ball had hit the City midfielder on the arm despite television replays being fairly conclusive.

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Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s 2,000th Premier League goal as they battled to a 2-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion that closed the gap on leaders Manchester City to three points.

Luis Diaz put Liverpool in front on 19 minutes, bravely heading in a superb pass from Joel Matip, February’s EA SPORTS Player of the Month, before colliding with goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.

Liverpool struggled to break Brighton down until Salah doubled their lead from the penalty spot on 61 minutes as the Egyptian punished a handball by Yves Bissouma.

It was Salah’s 20th Premier League goal of the season and made Liverpool the second team to reach 2,000 in the competition after Manchester United.

Salah then went off with an injury but, although Alisson denied Brighton substitutes Danny Welbeck and Solly March late on, Liverpool had done enough to secure an eighth successive league victory, moving them on to 66 points.

A fifth league defeat in a row leaves Brighton 13th on 33 points.

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Mohamed Salah will go head-to-head with Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane for Africa Cup of Nations glory after Egypt joined Senegal in the final by beating Cameroon on penalties.

The Pharaohs won the shoot-out 3-1 after 120 goalless minutes in the semi-final as Cameroon’s hopes of winning a sixth title on home soil came to an end.

Egypt goalkeeper Gabaski was the hero, saving penalties from Harold Moukoudi and James Lea Siliki, while former Tottenham man Clinton N’Jie missed the target.

It meant Salah was not even needed in the shoot-out as Egypt, who also won on penalties in the last 16 against Ivory Coast, moved one win away from a first Africa Cup of Nations title since 2010.

They will contest Sunday’s final against Senegal with coach Carlos Queiroz in the stands after he was shown a red card in the second half.

Things could have been different had Cameroon scored during a rampant opening.

They dominated early on and came within inches of taking the lead inside the opening 20 minutes.

Defender Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui climbed highest from a corner, but his effort hit the angle of the crossbar and post and then Vincent Aboubakar put the rebound agonisingly wide.

Former Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa had a chance when he flicked wide, before another golden opportunity presented itself to Ngadeu-Ngadjui as a ball into the box fell kindly at his feet, but he could not get a shot away.

Egypt started the second half better and Salah had a chance he would usually gobble up.

He went through on goal but was denied by Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana as he tried to round him.

The hosts regained the dominance and Karl Toko Ekambi was almost the hero when he flicked a cross towards goal and Gabaski did well to get down and save it.

As the game headed towards the end of the regulation 90 minutes, both teams lost energy and discipline and that spread to the touchline.

Egypt boss Queiroz, who had just been booked by referee Bakary Gassama, was furious after he thought he saw an elbow from a Cameroon player on one of his charges and was sent to the stands for his trouble.

Extra time was low on quality, with Cameroon coming closest as Gabaski spilled N’Jie’s cross, but he escaped and then came good as the game went to penalties.

Aboubakar scored Cameroon’s first penalty, but that was as good as it got as Moukoudi, Siliki and N’Jie missed consecutive kicks to send Egypt through, condemning the hosts to a third-place play-off with Burkina Faso.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is “very positive” about Mohamed Salah’s contract situation.

The Egypt forward has less than 18 months left on his current deal and, in an interview this week, said he was not asking “for crazy things”.

Klopp has said in the past the contract is not something which can be sorted quickly – Salah is reportedly looking for wages in excess of £300,000 a week – and he remains upbeat despite time ticking on.

“I know that Mo wants to stay. We want Mo to stay. That is where we are,” Klopp said.

“These things take time. I cannot change that, sorry. I think it is all in a good place.

“I am very positive about it but I am pretty sure fans are not as nervous as you (the media) are.

“They know the club pretty long, they know the people dealing with the different things here pretty long, so I think it is enough reason to be positive.

“But as long as it is not done, we can’t say anything about it. Good conversations, that’s what I can say.

“There are so many things you have to do in these negotiations. There is a third party, the agent in there as well, but there is nothing to worry about, it is a normal process.

“No-one has to worry. It is just the situation. Really, all fine. It’s not done – that’s why we didn’t get this news – but we have talks.”

Looking at Salah’s numbers – he has scored 111 goals in 165 Premier League matches and 148 in 229 in all competitions – the decision to extend the five-year stay of a player leading the race for a third Golden Boot in five years is a no-brainer.

It is not just his weight of goals, it is his consistency. He has never scored fewer than 23 in any one season – including the current campaign – and the fewest appearances he has made in his previous four years is a remarkable 48.

The 29-year-old is super-fit and barely misses a game and that is something owner Fenway Sports Group will have to factor in if it is to break with its general practice of not offering ageing players – Salah will be 30 in June – lengthy, lucrative contracts.

Klopp, however, sees no reason why the forward, currently away at the Africa Cup of Nations, cannot remain at the top level well into his mid-30s like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I am as convinced as you can be,” Klopp added. “He is a world-class player, unbelievable player, great boy, did a lot of great stuff for Liverpool.

“His character, his determination, it’s the way he trains. His attitude, his work-rate is incredible, first in, last out, doing the right stuff.

“You can do some not-so-good things when you are in training and in the gym for a long time but he knows his body, he knows what to do and he is listening to the experts here.

“He tries to improve all the time. He works so hard for the situation he is in now and he will not waste it by doing less.”

Salah, along with Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, will be absent for Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final at home to Arsenal, which is now the first leg after last week’s cancellation following what turned out to be a raft of false positive coronavirus PCR tests.

The EFL has said it will not be investigating the postponement and Klopp said the matter – which included the closure of the first-team training complex for 48 hours – was not of their own making.

“A false positive is a positive test,” he said. “You get a test result back positive and, when you are able to do a retest a day, a day and a half later you get a result that makes it look like a false positive because this test was a negative.

“It doesn’t change anything for your quarantine but you need to prove that wrong or right (so) you have to do a third test and between the first and second and second and third tests you cannot use the players.”

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Liverpool made light of the Covid-enforced absences of Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho to comfortably beat struggling Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield and become the first English side in history to register 2,000 top-flight victories.

Mohamed Salah equalled Jamie Vardy’s record of providing a goal or an assist in 15 consecutive Premier League appearances with his 22nd strike of the season after Diogo Jota had equalised former Reds midfielder Jonjo Shelvey’s early effort.

Trent Alexander-Arnold made sure of the three points during the unnecessarily tense closing stages with a 25-yard blast.

Salah now has 24 Premier League goal involvements this season (15 goals, nine assists) and only only Alan Shearer, in 1994-95, has more (25) before Christmas.

Liverpool also set yet another club record of scoring for a 32nd successive game in all competitions, beating their previous best from January 1958.

Victory moved Jurgen Klopp’s side back to within a point of leaders Manchester City, edging three ahead of Chelsea after they could only draw at home to a severely-weakened Everton.

Rumours circulating all day about a coronavirus outbreak in Liverpool’s squad were confirmed shortly before 7pm when it was announced Van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones had all tested positive.

With some prescience Klopp, in his programme notes, had written about the pandemic and his support of the vaccination process, saying: “Ignore those who pretend to know. Ignore lies and misinformation. Listen to people who know best. If you do that, you end up wanting the vaccine and the booster.”

It did not help his present predicament, however, although he admitted before kick-off with only three players down there was never any chance they would ask for a postponement.

And why would he when he was able to bring in £36million summer signing Ibrahima Konate and Jota, for his 50th appearance for the club.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe looked to have one eye on damage limitation as he surprisingly rested leading scorer Callum Wilson.

What was even more of a surprise was the visitors taking the lead as Thiago Alcantara had a minute to forget.

His mis-kick deep in enemy territory ended with him feebly clearing a cross inside his own penalty area straight to Shelvey, who wrong-footed an unsighted Alisson Becker from distance.

Shelvey ran the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the visiting fans. Klopp gave a wry smile.

Liverpool’s immediate response saw Sadio Mane hit a post, only to be flagged offside, Konate plant a free header wide and Andy Robertson fire into the side-netting.

But then they struck twice inside five minutes – although their equaliser was bitterly contested by Newcastle.

With Isaac Hayden down in the six-yard area after a corner Mane swung over a cross which Jota headed goalwards and then pounced on the rebound from Martin Dubravka.

Howe and a number of his players were furious the game was not halted, and referee Mike Dean’s decision not to stop the action again in the 25th minute led to another goal, although this time his judgement could not questioned.

Just 95 seconds previously Allan Saint-Maximin had forced Alisson into a save after another of his quick counter-attacking runs but when Mane looked to have been fouled on the edge of Newcastle’s area Dean waved play on.

The Senegal international managed to get off a shot which Dubravka could only push out to Salah who ran in to fire past a Newcastle goalkeeper for the fifth successive time at Anfield.

Jota hooked over a volley and Salah, released by Oxlade-Chamberlain’s lobbed pass, rolled a shot past Dubravka and wide of the far post as Liverpool finished the half strongly.

There was not the same fluency after the break and only a perfectly-timed sliding Trent Alexander-Arnold tackle prevented Ryan Fraser having a clear shot, while Alisson struggled to get across to Shelvey’s free-kick as it whistled past his right-hand post.

Sensing their chance Howe sent on Wilson for the final 15 minutes, although it was for the injured Saint-Maximin.

Jota had a shot blocked on the line but there was no stopping Alexander-Arnold’s hammer blow which inflicted back-to-back defeats for Howe.

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The Best FIFA Men’s Player award: Messi, Ronaldo and Salah lead nominees

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah have all been nominated for the 2021 The Best FIFA Men’s Player award.

Chelsea midfielders Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Paris Saint-Germain stars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are also on the shortlist.

Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema complete the 11-man list.

There are seven nominees for the Best FIFA Men’s Coach prize, including City boss Pep Guardiola and Italy coach Roberto Mancini, who led his side to Euro 2020 glory.

Hansi Flick is nominated after significant success with Bayern before taking the Germany job, along with Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone and new Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte.

Lionel Scaloni, who guided Argentina to a Copa America triumph, completes the list.

Liverpool’s Alisson, PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy, Bayern’s Manuel Neuer and Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City are up for the Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper award.

The shortlist for the Best FIFA Women’s Player includes four Barcelona players, among them Alexia Putellas and Jennifer Hermoso.

Pernille Harder leads a four-woman Chelsea contingent, while City duo Ellen White and Lucy Bronze are nominated, as is Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema.

Barcelona’s Lluis Cortes, Sweden’s Peter Gerhardsson, Chelsea’s Emma Hayes, Canada’s Beverly Priestmann and England boss Sarina Wiegman are up for the Best FIFA Women’s Coach prize.

The candidates for each category were selected by respective panels of experts for men’s and women’s football. A public vote will run until 23:59 CET on December 10, after which three finalists in each category will be announced ahead of the ceremony on January 17.

Lewandowski won the Men’s Player prize in 2020, ahead of Ronaldo and Messi, while Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp took the Men’s Coach award.

Bronze was named the Best FIFA Women’s Player and Wiegman the Best FIFA Women’s Coach.

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Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick as Manchester United were ripped apart by relentless rivals Liverpool to leave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under the most intense scrutiny of his near three years in charge.

The 202nd meeting of two of English football’s biggest rivals will live long in the memory after Jurgen Klopp’s men ran amok and recorded the club’s biggest ever win at Old Trafford.

Liverpool were as impressive as United were poor, with scintillating Salah’s treble complementing early goals from Naby Keita and Diogo Jota in a 5-0 rout in which substitute Paul Pogba was sent off.

Sir Alex Ferguson was seen shaking his head in disbelief after the fifth goal, with the visiting fans chanting Solskjaer’s name during an embarrassing display that will test the Old Trafford hierarchy’s support of their manager.

Never before in Premier League history had United gone into half-time four goals behind, but their consistently poor defence was punished by Liverpool as Keita and Jota scored before two Salah strikes.

A cacophony of boos met the half-time whistle and the Egyptian magician completed his hat-trick five minutes after the restart, with Pogba’s red card for a poor tackle on Keita compounding matters.

Liverpool were unable to add anymore and Cristiano Ronaldo saw a goal ruled out for offside in a second half that ended with empty seats and jeers, 10 years and a day since the 6-1 home loss to Manchester City.

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Mohamed Salah seals dramatic win

Mohamed Salah made history by scoring in a ninth successive match for Liverpool to earn the Reds a dramatic 3-2 win over Atletico Madrid, who had two-goal Antoine Griezmann sent off and a late penalty contentiously overturned.

In-form forward Salah opened the scoring inside eight minutes in Tuesday’s breathless Champions League tie before Naby Keita volleyed in a second five minutes later as the visitors took complete control at Wanda Metropolitano.

That was the earliest Atletico had gone two goals down in a Champions League match, though they hit back before half-time through Griezmann’s double.

Griezmann was sent off early in the second half for a high boot on Roberto Firmino and Liverpool made the man advantage count when Salah scored a second of his own from the penalty spot.

Liverpool, who were given a late reprieve when a penalty awarded for Diogo Jota’s shove on Jose Gimenez was overruled following a check of the pitchside monitor, now hold a five-point lead over Atletico and Porto at the top of Group B.

At 29 years and 130 days, Liverpool fielded their oldest starting line-up in a match since September 1953 and their experience showed in a fast start that saw them open the scoring early on.

Salah’s left-footed shot from outside the box took a deflection on its way past Jan Oblak and was later credited to the Egypt forward after some initial confusion over who the final touch came off.

Atleti continued to be pushed back and they found themselves two goals behind soon after when Felipe’s poor defensive header fell nicely for Keita to thump home with a dipping first-time shot from 18 yards.

But the home side soon settled and were back in the game thanks to a slight touch from Griezmann to help Koke’s shot into the bottom-left corner, the goal allowed to stand after a lengthy VAR check for a possible offside in the build-up.

Griezmann was then denied by Alisson when played clean through on goal, but the France international made amends by taking Joao Felix’s pass in his stride and coolly slotting past the Liverpool goalkeeper.

Alisson and Oblak continued to be called into action in a frantic end-to-end match, but momentum shifted back in Liverpool’s favour with 52 minutes played with Griezmann’s straight red card.

Jurgen Klopp’s side made a spell of pressure count 12 minutes from time as Mario Hermoso barged into Jota inside the box and Salah, who missed a penalty against Milan in Liverpool’s opening group match, buried the spot-kick.

There was still time for more drama in the Spanish capital, with referee Daniel Siebert pointing to the spot for Jota’s challenge on Gimenez, but the decision was controversially overturned before substitute Luis Suarez could step up and take the penalty.

2+1 – Antoine Griezmann is the first player in UEFA Champions League history to score twice and be sent off. Comedown.

Liverpool had failed to beat Atletico in their previous four Champions League meetings prior to this thriller – only Basel had they faced more often without winning in their proud European Cup history. The Reds did it the hard way after giving up their lead, but maintained their record of scoring at least three times away from home in every away game this term – a run that now spans seven matches – and they now have one foot in the last 16 thanks to their five-point buffer at the top.

Salah’s incredible individual strike against Watford at the weekend saw him match Sam Raybould (1902-03), John Aldridge (1987-88) and Daniel Sturridge (2013-14) in scoring in eight successive games for Liverpool. He now holds the record outright with his latest strikes, with his double meaning he has also now scored in six straight away matches for the Premier League side in Europe.

Griezmann has taken his time to get going since returning from Barcelona but had a huge say in this game, with his brace the sixth he has managed for the club in the Champions League – no other Atleti player has managed more than two.

However, his red card for a perceived high boot proved pivotal. Griezmann had every right to feel aggrieved as he had his eyes on a looping ball and did not see Firmino, whom he caught in the face, but he nevertheless became the first player in Champions League history to score twice and also be sent off in the same match.

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Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah insists winning is what keeps him happy.

Over the last month there has been a lot of debate about Salah’s contract situation as he has yet to follow the example of a number of senior players this year and sign an extension to a deal which expires in the summer of 2023.

Reports suggest the stumbling block is the Egypt international’s wages, with claims that Salah looking for £300,000-a-week-plus so he can have parity with some of the Premier League’s top earners.

Liverpool’s policy is not to hand out big contracts to players over the age of 30 – Salah reaches that mark next summer – but pundits like former Reds defender Jamie Carragher believes the club should pay the player what he is worth.

Salah, however, is concentrating on ensuring Jurgen Klopp’s side keep pace with Chelsea and Manchester City at the top of the table after an unbeaten start to the season.

“I’m happy as long as the team keep winning,” Salah told liverpoolfc.

“I’m trying to help always, to score goals and make the team win games – that’s the most important (thing).

“We have to give our best always to win something and I think we have the quality for that.

“We have a top team, so we have to push ourselves to the limit and try to win something. I’m sure everybody thinks the same.

“That’s what we need, just to keep in our head that we finish the season winning something.”

Klopp received a boost on Thursday with Diogo Jota joining the squad for training despite being sent home early from international duty with Portugal on Tuesday as he was not deemed fit enough to play in their World Cup qualifier.