Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp played down Mohamed Salah’s reaction after he was substituted in the 1-0 defeat at home to Chelsea which resulted in the club’s worst home league run in their history.
By the time the Premier League’s leading goalscorer was replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain just past the hour the hosts were already trailing to Mason Mount’s goal late in the first half.
Salah walked off shaking his head, and while Klopp says he did not see the reaction he said he took the Egypt international off as he was concerned about his fitness.
“When the boys look disappointed it is not a problem. I didn’t see what Mo did,” he said.
“The reason for the sub was that, and I could have changed other players as well that’s true, but he looked in that moment that he really felt the intensity and I didn’t want to risk him.
“That’s all. I’ve known him a long time and it’s really rare as he usually looks fresh.”
Klopp took the blame for the lacklustre defeat, in which his side’s one shot on target was not registered until the 85th minute.
Having gone almost four years unbeaten in the league at home Klopp has now lost more games at Anfield in the last four weeks than in his previous five years.
“Intense game, tight game, one decisive moment decided the game with the quality of Mason,” he added.
“Our situations we didn’t use. That is pretty much the explanation for the result.
“I try to be as honest as possible, I told the boys what I saw tonight. It’s not that we go for any kind of excuses in this moment.
“These games are decided in moments and to get these moments back you have to fight and sometimes at a different level. It’s not about tactics. It’s about being resilient and heart.
“We won’t blame the circumstances. There is only one person to criticise. That is me and us. That is what I told the boys.”