Home News Dominik Szoboszlai explains his role in denying Mo Salah penalty antics

Dominik Szoboszlai explains his role in denying Mo Salah penalty antics

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With over a minute-and-a-half taken to award Liverpool their penalty against Everton, Dominik Szoboszlai played a key role in shielding Mohamed Salah.

The ball struck Everton defender Michael Keane’s arm with 71 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock at Anfield, leading to a deafening roar from the Kop.

Referee Craig Pawson consulted VAR and was then instructed to head to the pitchside monitor, with his decision confirmed on 73 minutes and 21 seconds.

For the players, it was an agonising wait with the scores at 0-0, but Salah was eventually able to step up and fire Liverpool a goal ahead.

As was often the case with Jordan Henderson in years gone by, Szoboszlai and Virgil van Dijk combined to ensure no foul play around Salah or the penalty spot before he was able to take it.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 21, 2023: Everton's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is beaten for the opening goal by a penalty from Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 243rd Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The No. 8 immediately grabbed the ball and held onto it before it was time for the Egyptian to take position, while Van Dijk blocked any crowding of the referee and then Salah himself.

“To be honest, I saw it from behind so I was probably 95 percent sure that it was going to be a penalty,” Szoboszlai told LFCTV.

“I just held the ball so nobody took it, also Virg stood there to protect the penalty spot. We are a team.”

It was far from a vintage display from Salah – as Jurgen Klopp himself admitted – but he came away from the Merseyside derby with two goals.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 21, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 243rd Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That lifted him above Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrard in the all-time Anfield goalscorers list, with Szoboszlai insistent that finding the back of the net was all that mattered.

“You cannot always have a good day,” he said, with bemusement at the suggestion it wasn’t Salah’s best game.

“But in the end, if you score two, this is our job.

“He lost some balls, but we were behind him, we protected him, we won the balls back, we gave it to him again.

“Of course, sometimes it’s hard, but if you score two goals then everybody’s happy in the end.”