Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he was not worried for “one second” about Mohamed Salah’s form this season after his relatively sluggish start.
The Egypt forward made it 10 Premier League goals for the campaign with his hat-trick in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Bournemouth that sent Liverpool top of the league.
The Reds now boast the league’s only unbeaten record after champions Manchester City lost 2-0 at Chelsea.
Salah’s dislocated shoulder in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in May spoiled his World Cup, but Klopp is adamant he never doubted the 26-year-old.
“I was not one second worried (about Salah). I don’t know exactly what people wrote, I have no clue about that,” said Klopp.
“But we have to develop always, and to confirm and to improve again on a 41-goal season (Salah actually scored 44 goals last season). Everybody would struggle a little, because how can you improve on that?
“If you score 10 goals in the first five games everyone will say ‘yeah it’s going to happen again’. And then if you ended up with 39 people would say ‘yeah but it’s not 41’.
“And we all have to learn to deal with it, and him of course as well. That’s how it is.”
Liverpool must beat Napoli 1-0 or by a margin of two goals at Anfield on Tuesday to guarantee reaching the Champions League’s last 16, with Klopp calling on his players to prove their true class and for vocal backing from the fans.
“We were not good at Napoli so first of all we would like to show we are better than that,” he said. “So we also have to call again on Anfield, and they should help us because that’s a massive game, a really massive game.”
jw/jd (Additional editing by Sean McMahon)
© Agence France-Presse