Liverpool face the difficult prospect of life without Mohamed Salah for a chunk of next season, with two national tournaments threatening to keep him away from the Reds.
Salah was pencilled in as one of Egypt’s three over-age players for the 2020 Olympic Games before the event was pushed back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This week Egypt Under-23 coach Shawky Gharib confirmed Salah remains in his plans for the Olympics, which will run from July 23 to August 8 2021.
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That would take the forward out of much of Liverpool’s pre-season and leave him racing to be fit for the start of the campaign in a season where he is already likely to miss club games to represent Egypt at the 2022 AFCON in January.
January 2022 is shaping as an extremely difficult month for Jurgen Klopp’s men, with Sadio Mane and Naby Keita both likely to be competing at AFCON.
“We have a great player like Salah, and we hope that the negotiations for his inclusion in our team will reach a position that will benefit us,” U23 coach Gharib said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“As a technical body and a football association, of course we have a desire to see Salah in our team in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, because your ambition varies and increases with the quality of your players,” he added.
“We have talked so far about including Salah, and we haven’t decided yet if we are going to include someone else over-age or not.”
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Salah has been in fine fettle for Liverpool this season. The forward has already netted seven league goals for the campaign, one adrift of golden boot leaders Dominic Calvert-Lein and Son Heung-Min, alongside two in the Champions League.