Jurgen Klopp was happy to see Mohamed Salah score his first Liverpool goal on his first outing for the club – but admits he must get used to the Reds’ way of playing.
Klopp was pleased with Salah’s first appearance and a goal on the stroke of half-time to equalise Alex Gibley’s opener as Liverpool drew 1-1 against Wigan at the DW Stadium.
It was a promising 45 minutes for the Egypt international, who did not play in Wednesday’s win over Tranmere as he was in Paris securing a work permit, and he could have scored inside 50 seconds after bursting forward and firing over the angle of post and crossbar.
Salah was signed from Roma to satisfy Klopp’s need for more speed in a side which often looked one-paced last season when Sadio Mane and Daniel Sturridge were absent.
The 25-year-old showed in short, sharp bursts he was willing to break forward beyond the ball to stretch defences, often drifting inside to be more threatening centrally.
His goal, when it came on the stroke of half-time, was as simple as he is ever likely to get, with Roberto Firmino squaring a pass for him to score into an empty net.
“The first situation (was a) nice sprint. The goal was an easy situation,” said Klopp.
However, Klopp says the Egyptian must adapt to Liverpool’s style.
“He [Salah] had no idea how to defend normally because he was not involved (previously). He is really used to a completely different way of defending.”
Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana, both playing their first pre-season matches, both had chances to score prior to that, with Firmino all-too-casually stabbing the ball wide as he tried to find the latter for a close-range tap-in when it made more sense to shoot.
Dejan Lovren’s header against the foot of a post was the closest either side came to scoring in the second half, with Sturridge missing the target with a good chance late on.
Away from the first team, Steven Gerrard’s first match at Liverpool’s Under-18 manager got off to a winning start with a 7-0 victory over their Burton Albion counterparts at St George’s Park.