By Richard Martin
KIEV (Reuters) – Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp says forward Mohamed Salah will be at peak fitness for Saturday’s Champions League final regardless of whether or not he is observing the fasting rules of Ramadan.
The question of whether devout Muslim Salah has chosen to fast in the build-up to the encounter with Real Madrid in Kiev has attracted a lot of media interest.
Liverpool’s physiotherapist Ruben Pons told Spanish radio station Onda Cero that Egypt forward Salah had been observing Ramadan during the team’s recent training camp in Marbella but had chosen to interrupt his fasting three days before the final.
“As I understand it religion is a private matter so I have nothing to say about that but all is fine, you will see him in training, he is full of power, you need to be a day before the final,” Klopp told a news conference.
The Ramadan fast is a time when Muslims are required to abstain from food and drink during daylight hours. Athletes are allowed to defer their fasts until a later date, but many Muslim sportsmen and women from cultures or countries where not fasting is frowned upon may well honour the holy month.
The Egyptian broke the Premier League scoring record for a 38-game season with 32 league goals this campaign and has also netted 10 times in the Champions League.
Salah’s dominant displays in Europe have sparked debate over whether the Liverpool striker could break the decade-long stranglehold on the Ballon d’Or award of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Klopp, however, had little enthusiasm for adding to the discussion.
“It’s not important, no manager is interested in that,” he said.
“Messi and Ronaldo deserve all the praise they have had in the past. Now they are in their 30s and still at a great level. We will see in next years if Mo can go there.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)