Referee didn't protect Liverpool from 'very aggressive' Monterrey – Salah

The Mexican side’s physical tactics were questioned by the Egyptian star, who felt the Reds should have had more protection from officials

Mohamed Salah felt Liverpool’s players were not protected from Monterrey’s “very aggressive” tactics in the Reds’ Club World Cup semi-final victory on Wednesday.

Liverpool advanced to the Club World Cup final in Doha with a 2-1 success as substitute Roberto Firmino scored a 91st-minute winner.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool had taken the lead through Naby Keita, but a side missing influential defender Virgil van Dijk through illness were pegged back by Rogelio Funes Mori, with the Champions League holders requiring an in-form Alisson to remain on level terms thereafter.

Salah felt the Reds were good value for their win, though he was unhappy with Chilean referee Roberto Tobar’s handling of the game and Monterrey’s tactics.

The Mexican side had two players booked – Jesus Gallardo and Leonel Vangioni – to Liverpool’s one caution, but Klopp’s side committed 13 fouls to their opponents’ nine.

“I think it was a tough game,” Salah told a news conference.

“They were very aggressive against us and all of us were complaining about our legs and they were really aggressive.

“I think the referee doesn’t protect us too much. But I’m not here to complain about it.

“I think in the end we showed our quality and we won in the last minute. I think we deserved it.”

Egypt international Salah was the star attraction for the crowd in Qatar and he was awarded the man-of-the-match award having set up Keita’s opener and played a big part in Firmino’s winner.

“I think all the stadium today was Egyptian,” Salah added.

“I can hear that today. I feel support everywhere, I’m happy about that.

“I always feel love when they call my name, I feel support from them. I’m happy to hear that from them.”

The Reds will play Flamengo in the tournament’s final on Saturday in a bid to win the trophy for the first time.

Liverpool competed in the Club World Cup in 2005, after winning the Champions League final against Milan earlier that year, but lost 1-0 in the decider to Brazil’s Sao Paulo in the Japan-based tournament.

Following their foray to Qatar, the Reds will return to England for a tough run of Premier League fixtures as they face Leicester City, Wolves and Sheffield United.

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