Mohamed Salah returning to Liverpool but could head back for Afcon semis



Mohamed Salah returning to Liverpool but could head back for Afcon semis

Mohamed Salah is poised to return to Liverpool to undergo his rehabilitation from a muscle injury, but could fly back to the Africa Cup of Nations if Egypt advance to the tournament semi-finals.

Without Salah, Jürgen Klopp’s side moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 4-0  win at Bournemouth 

courtesy of two second-half goals apiece from Darwin Núñez and Diogo Jota.

Salah limped off during Egypt’s 2-2 draw with Ghana on Thursday and has been ruled out of their final Group B match against Cape Verde on Monday, as well as the last 16 and quarter final, if the record seven-time Afcon champions make it that far. Klopp clarified the plan is for Salah to return from Ivory Coast to ensure he receives the best medical treatment.

“If that’s already decided 100%, I don’t know, but that’s the plan,” the Liverpool 

manager said. “I think it probably makes sense for everybody if he does the rehab with us – or with our people. That’s the plan. If that is written in stone already, I don’t know. I have spoken with him [Salah] directly after – pretty much the night when it happened – but since then he is in contact with our doctor [Jonathan Power] and the doc tells me the news. I think he will be back, but we’ll wait.”

Asked whether Salah could return to Ivory Coast should Egypt go the distance, Klopp replied: “I’m not a doctor but I would say if he is fit before the final and Egypt qualifies for the final then probably, yes. Why not? Ivory Coast, I’m sure it’s a wonderful country, but we have no people from us there. The people there have to take care of the players who are playing. Let’s see.”

Later, Egypt’s FA said in a statement: “Salah will now travel to England to receive treatment with the hope that he will join the Egyptian national team if it qualifies for the semi-finals.”

Goals from Núñez and Jota extended Liverpool’s fine form, with the leaders opening up a five‑point gap to Manchester City, who have a game in hand. Klopp conceded his team lacked rhythm in the first half but his side blew Bournemouth 

away in the second, the manager reserving special praise for the Argentina midfielder Alexis Mac Allister.

“Absolutely exceptional performance … I’m so happy for him,” Klopp said. “He’s a really good footballer. Defensively he did a job and offensively he is super important for us. All the good things in the first half happened with him.”

Bournemouth’s head coach, Andoni Iraola, praised Liverpool’s clinical streak and acknowledged his team could not maintain their optimum levels after a courageous first‑half display. “They [Liver­pool] kept for 100 minutes at this high intensity,” Iraola. “Once we became a little bit weaker and gave them a bit more space, it became really difficult because they took their chances.”


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