The Egyptian has been fouled only 16 times this season, despite having more touches in the opposition box than any other player

Jurgen Klopp has hailed the durability and fitness of Mohamed Salah, with the Liverpool forward set to shake off injury in time to face Arsenal.

But the Reds boss has taken a swipe at Premier League referees, believing they should do more to protect his star man.

Salah was substituted in the second-half of Liverpool’s win over Brighton on Saturday, but returned to training on Tuesday, and is in contention for Wednesday night’s trip to the Emirates.

Speaking at a press conference at Kirkby, Klopp was told that Salah had not missed a Premier League game through injury since October 2019, and that he had featured in 171 of a possible 180 league matches since his arrival at the club in 2017.

He replied: “And on top of that, there is a statistic – I am not exactly sure who had it – but the statistic is that Mo is the one player who is fouled the least compared to other strikers.

“It is absolutely crazy how low the number of fouls is against him, which the referee doesnt whistle. So he has constant contact [from defenders] and is going down all the time, having to get up again, stuff like this.”

Congratulations, @MoSalah ????Mo has been named as the @PFA Fans Player of the Month for February ???? #PFAPOTM pic.twitter.com/lZls71fPx5

Klopp certainly appears to have a point. No player in the Premier League has had more touches in the opposition box this season than Salah, whose total of 269 dwarfs just about everyone else.

And yet the 29-year-old has only won 16 fouls in 26 league matches. By comparison, Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace has picked up 72, and Brentford’s Ivan Toney has 59.

Asked why that was the case, Klopp said: “Honestly you have to ask the refs, I dont know because we constantly think he gets fouled.

“He gets confronted with the fact that someone calls him a diver or whatever, that is an absolute shame.

“I have no idea. We dont get even close to the number of free-kicks that we should have. We dont talk about it, it is not important because we still win football games and these types of things, but come on!

“I cannot explain [the Salah stat]. You must ask other people how that is possible, because he is the guy who is constantly with the ball around the box and there is no foul. Interesting. How is that? It is just not possible.

“There are situations where he goes down and theres a challenge, so it is not that he avoids these situations. No, it is just the opposite actually. I cannot explain it.”

Klopp was also asked, inevitably, about the uncertainty surrounding Salah’s contract situation, with the Egyptian set to enter the final year of his current deal at the end of this season.

Despite the impasse, with the two parties seemingly some way away from an agreement over an extension, Klopp says there is no concern over the focus or attitude of his leading goalscorer.

“No, no,” he said. “I dont have to remind any player and for sure not Mo. No chance!

“This season everyone is completely committed. Some players dont play often enough, some arent in the squad often enough, they could create a bad atmosphere but they dont, they will not.

“They have a clear commitment to this team this season and when it is done we will talk about the rest, whatever, the future, all these kinds of things.

“And Mo is not the guy for that, not at all. If I dont line him up, then his mood goes down, that is possible but it is not against the team or whatever, no chance.”

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