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Klopp reacts to Salah only finishing seventh in Ballon d’Or vote

The Liverpool boss admitted he was surprised to see his star forward so far down in the rankings, although he hinted that the award should have gone to Robert Lewandowski

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Lionel Messi wins record seventh Ballon d’Or: Darren Wells reports

Jurgen Klopp admitted he was “surprised” by Mohamed Salah only finishing seventh at Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony.

Lionel Messi picked up the gong for the seventh time in his career at the gala ceremony in Paris, finishing ahead of Robert Lewandowski in second and Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho in third.

The top three were then followed by Real Madrid and France star Karim Benzema in fourth, his international teammate N’Golo Kante in fifth position and five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo in sixth.

Salah then had to settle for seventh place, despite a stunning start to this season which has seen him score 17 goals in 18 appearances for the Reds.

Salah was at a separate awards ceremony in Monaco on Monday
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Image:

REUTERS)

Despite the Egyptian’s position, Klopp is in no doubt about his qualities.

“I was surprised about his position,” he said at his press conference on Tuesday ahead of this week’s Merseyside derby against Everton.

“Journalists vote for the Ballon d’Or so… if you think he should be higher up, you should convince your colleagues!

“You can always give it to Lionel Messi for the career he’s had, but if you don’t give it to Robert Lewandowski this time, then he will never get it.

“And Mo should have been higher up, definitely.”

Messi tipped both Salah and Lewandowski for potential future Ballon d’Or wins shortly after he picked up his prize, telling the media: “Salah will have opportunities in the years to come.

“Both players [Salah and Lewandowski] are at their best at the moment and will have more chances to win it.

“I don’t know if the record is beatable.

Klopp was facing the media before Liverpool’s derby trip to Everton

“I just have to accept it but I’m not sure if it can be beaten.”

Salah was at a separate awards ceremony in Monaco on Monday night, but has now returned to England ahead of facing Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

On the game, Klopp said: “We know there are some special things around derbies but it’s a football game as well, that’s how we approach it.

“We understand the supporters’ soul and we try to fill their wishes. Derbies are in focus but we approach it like a [normal] football game.”

“The extra day helps, we usually have one less and we feel it. The second day of recovery is important for the boys. We will see.”

The game marks a first return to Goodison for Virgil van Dijk since he sustained a serious knee injury there last season, and Klopp says the Dutchman has mentally recovered.

“The situation [of Van Dijk’s injury] was unlucky, I haven’t seen it happen in another game since,” he said.

“Virg is very experienced. He just has to be completely free of all things in his mind because of one issue in the past.

“He’s come back brilliant. People are quick if things are not exactly like they were. Those judgements make no sense.

“He’s had time. Three games in a week, he looked fine but we gave him a break. Not sure that’s needed now for next games but we think about it from time to time.”

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