Mohamed Salah will return to Liverpool as part of his rehabilitation following a muscle injury; Salah was subbed during Egypt’s draw with Ghana on Thursday; Egypt say he will miss their final group game and any potential last-16 game if they qualify
Mohamed Salah expresses his views on the upcoming games in the AFCON after the striker suffered an injury.
Mohamed Salah will return to Liverpool for treatment on the muscle issue he sustained at the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt.
Salah will attend Egypt’s final group game match against Cape Verde on Monday before flying to Liverpool, Egypt confirmed on Sunday.
Egypt also said they hope to have Salah back for the AFCON semi-finals and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had earlier said if the 31-year-old regained fitness he would return to national duty.
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Salah picked up an injury in Egypt’s 2-2 draw with Ghana on Thursday and Egypt announced they expected him to miss two games but after discussions with Liverpool have decided to allow him to travel home.
The severity of Salah’s injury remains unclear.
Martin Hardy of The Times and Jonathan Liew of The Guardian discuss Salah’s injury at AFCON and what it could mean for Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes
Speaking after Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth, Klopp said: “However long he’s out, probably everybody sees it like this, it makes sense that he’s doing the rehab with us or with our people. If that’s written in stone already, I don’t know.
“I spoke with him directly after, the night when it happened. Since then he’s in contact with our doctor. I think he will be back.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says it was a ‘shock’ to see Salah depart the pitch after an injury against Ghana in Egypt’s Africa Cup of Nations clash on Thursday
Asked if Salah would go back to the tournament should his country reach the knockout stages, Klopp said: “I would say if Egypt qualifies for the final, if he’s fit before the final, then probably yes.
“Why not? That’s clear. It’s the tournament.
“Ivory Coast I’m sure is a wonderful country but we have no people from us there and their people have to take care of the people who are playing, so let’s see.”
Salah: My injury is still there
Salah went off injured during Egypt’s AFCON clash with Ghana in Ivory Coast
Salah spoke to reporters earlier on Sunday but did not offer more on his injury.
“My injury is still there but the most important thing now is to speak about the game,” he told a press conference ahead of the Cape Verde game.
Statement from Egypt Football Association
Salah will attend the Cape Verde game and travel to England afterwards. After carrying out additional examinations in the last hours and after communication between the medical department of the national team and his counterpart at Liverpool, it has been confirmed that the player will return to England to complete his treatment, hoping to catch him in the semi-finals of the CAF Nations Cup in case of qualification.
“Our primary goal is to secure qualification for the next round, with skilled players, a good coach and a clear vision.
“We’re fully committed to giving our best in the tournament and we just need to fight and see what will happen,” he added of the game with Cape Verde, who despite being the smallest country at the finals have already secured top place in the group.
Salah also spoke about the fact he has yet to win a trophy with Egypt, having twice been a runner-up at the Cup of Nations.
“I have won everything possible but not this one yet. It will happen somehow, that is what I believe, and whatever I believe I achieve, so sooner or later it will happen.
“Everybody knows what it means to any player to win an Africa Cup. We were unlucky at the last one and also in Gabon. The players are very motivated to win the tournament. We all want to win it.”
No Salah, no problem for Liverpool
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool’s win against Bournemouth in the Premier League
Sky Sports’ Sam Blitz:
Man City have Kevin de Bruyne back, Arsenal scored five the day before. Liverpool were set up for a tough match without Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold at in-form Bournemouth – but came through.
Doubles for Jota and Nunez made up for Salah’s absence. Assists for Conor Bradley and Joe Gomez from the right did the same for the absent Alexander-Arnold.
But, as has been said all week, Liverpool’s biggest asset is Klopp. Moving Nunez more central from the “static” left-hand side for the second half proved the trick to unlock the Bournemouth defence. Bringing on Cody Gakpo brought the second goal – and from that point it was job done.
Liverpool have also fixed their problem in defence. Ibrahima Konate was imperious at the back with Virgil van Dijk and kept the red-hot Dominic Solanke almost silent.
Manchester City were not the same when key players such as Rodri and De Bruyne were out. Arsenal do not have Liverpool’s wealth of attacking talent. There are signs, just signs for now, that Liverpool could be the title favourites.