Mohamed Salah has made clear to Jurgen Klopp he wants as many games as possible to try to create Liverpool goalscoring history as they prepare to travel to bottom of the Premier League table West Bromwich Albion.
It means the Egypt winger is reluctant to be rested for Saturday’s match at The Hawthorns, even though Reds manager Klopp has to pick a team with Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal first leg against Roma in mind.
Salah became only the third player to score 40 goals in a season for Liverpool when he struck in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth.
He is now just seven short of equalling the all-time club record set by Ian Rush, who struck 47 goals for Liverpool in the 1983-84 season.
Klopp, though, must consider whether to rest Salah for the West Brom fixture, given the match comes three days before the meeting with the winger’s former club Roma.
Klopp decided to leave out several key players for the Premier League match against Merseyside derby rivals Everton on April 7, three days before the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal at Manchester City, and the move paid off.
Liverpool came away from Goodison Park with a goalless draw to remain on course for a top-four finish, while Salah was given additional time to recover from a groin injury.
Salah then returned to score the vital away goal against City, since crowned champions of the Premier League, that effectively killed off the tie as Klopp’s side won 2-1 at the Etihad to secure a 5-1 aggregate victory.
‘No1 for Liverpool’
There are no such fitness worries for Salah this time, but it would be understandable if Liverpool chose to focus their energies on the Champions League, given that their domestic position looks secure.
They need a maximum of six points from their final four matches to guarantee a top-four Premier League finish, and they face both of the bottom two clubs in that final run of games.
West Brom, however, are fresh from a morale-boosting victory at Manchester United, and have little to lose now their relegation is all but mathematically confirmed.
Meanwhile, Salah is attracted by the prospect of playing at The Hawthorns as he tries to surpass Rush’s mark.
“There’s a big chance to break the record,” said Salah. “To be No1 for a club such as Liverpool, it’s something huge.
“I will be very happy if I break it. I want to keep scoring. I want to be No1 for the record.”
Salah’s understanding with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane has been a key part of Liverpool’s success this season – they have scored 82 of the club’s 121 goals in all competitions between them.
Liverpool’s defence has been impressive of late too, with just one goal conceded in their past four Premier League matches, during which time Klopp’s team have collected 10 points.
They go into the weekend in third place, 10 points ahead of Chelsea in fifth, and four behind Manchester United in second.
With neither United nor Chelsea in action this weekend because both play in the FA Cup semifinals, Liverpool have a good opportunity to make their league position even more secure.
As far as Salah is concerned, the priority should be to chase down United for second, rather than worry about Chelsea behind them.
“There are still some games to go and we have to finish second,” he said. “We keep fighting for that and I hope we reach it.
“For me, it’s better to finish second. I know the first four places play in the Champions League next year, but it’s always better to finish second than third or fourth.”