Jurgen Klopp feels journalists should have travelled to Merseyside to present Mohamed Salah with a prize instead of asking the Liverpool forward to go to London for an awards ceremony three days before a crucial Premier League match.
Salah won Liverpool’s Player and Players’ Player of the Season awards on Thursday before heading straight to the capital to pick up the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year prize.
Liverpool need to beat Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield on Sunday to guarantee Champions League qualification for next season, although a draw would also almost certainly keep the Reds above Chelsea.
And Klopp felt it was unfair for Salah to be asked to visit the capital for an awards ceremony in the build-up to a pivotal match for Liverpool.
“He deserved all the awards he got but I’m not in the mood to praise anybody for the last few months, I’m in the mood to think about Sunday,” Klopp said. “What he did was fantastic, to score so many goals, but it’s all about Sunday.
“It’s difficult with all the challenges he has, I know for the journalists it’s important, but last night to go to London for a party it’s not good. They should have come here.
“The season has ended for most of the teams in the league, it’s a nice time, but for us it’s work. He deserves all of the awards but now it’s about playing the game on Sunday.
“We need to be completely focused on the game. Yesterday we had our LFC awards – good timing – and a lot of people wished us luck for the 26th [the Champions League final against Real Madrid], two or three said good luck for Sunday.
“As a manager I’d prefer he goes home after the [club’s] awards and relax but he was early enough in bed, we organised it as much as possible.
“It’s nice to win awards and get picked out of the group. It’s intense, but a positive intensity because it’s for an exceptional season, he deserved all of that and he’s quite fine with that, he’s pretty cool with managing all of the requests and answering questions so that’s OK.”
Klopp reiterated that Brighton will pose a tough challenge even though Liverpool have not been beaten at Anfield in the Premier League this season.
“It’s a big one, there were plenty of moments to be proud of being a supporter of the club and on Sunday we have to deliver again, all of us,” Klopp added.
“It’s not a farewell thing on Sunday it’s a proper competition against a strong football team. Having no pressure can be quite positive actually, that’s how it is and the situation we face.
“A lot of things can happen in football but we will be there as well and we will do all we can to play in the Champions League for next season again.”