Mohammed Salah withdraws from AFCON, returns to Liverpool leaving fans feeling worse

The Egyptian Football Association has confirmed Mohamed Salah will return to Liverpool from the Africa Cup of Nations to receive treatment on his muscle injury.

Following an injury sustained last Thursday during the first half of the Pharoah’s group-stage fixture against Ghana, Mohamed Salah will leave the Egyptian squad, to continue treatment on the hamstring picked up during the game at Liverpool.

The forward is currently ruled out of Egypt’s crucial Group B clash against Cape Verde in Abidjan on Monday and Egpyt’s last-16 match should they progress.

The Egyptian FA had initially hoped he would be back for an eventual quarter-final, but now appear resigned to being without him until a possible semi-final on February 7.

The Egyptian FA said in a statement on Sunday:

“After additional examinations were conducted on Mohamed Salah during the last hours, and after communication between the national team’s medical staff and his counterpart at Liverpool FC, it was decided that the player will return to England after the Cape Verde match tomorrow to complete his treatment, with the hope that he will join the national team in the semi-final of the AFCON if we qualify.”

Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp also confirmed after the 4-0 win at Bournemouth that the 31-year-old will likely undergo his treatment in England.

“That’s the plan,” Klopp said after Liverpool’s 4-0 victory away to Bournemouth on Sunday when asked if Salah would now return to Merseyside.

“If that’s already decided 100 percent, I don’t know. But that’s the plan. I think probably everybody sees it makes sense that he’s doing the rehab with us or with our people.”

Klopp did leave the door open for Salah to return to the tournament should he prove his fitness while Egypt are still alive.

“If Egypt qualifies for the final and he is fit before the final, then probably yes,” added Klopp. “Why not? That’s clear.”

After drawing their opening two games at the tournament, the record seven-time African champions need to beat already-qualified Cape Verde just to be guaranteed a place in the last 16.

Salah salvaged a 2-2 draw with Mozambique from the penalty spot in Egypt’s opening game before limping off in the first half of the stalemate against Ghana. His injury is the latest cruel twist of fate for the player at the AFCON.

He has never won the trophy and twice fallen short in the final, to Cameroon in 2017 and Senegal two years ago.

Salah told a press conference on Sunday that he remains convinced he will be crowned champion of Africa “sooner or later”.

“I have won everything possible but this one not yet,” said the two-time African footballer of the year.”

“It will happen somehow, that is what I believe, and whatever I believe I achieve, so sooner or later it will happen.”

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