Egypt have confirmed that Mohamed Salah will only miss two matches with the hamstring injury he sustained at the Africa Cup of Nations on Thursday night. The news will come as a relief to Liverpool who had been sweating over their top goalscorer’s fitness after he was forced off in the Pharaohs’ 2-2 draw with Ghana.
Salah had to go off due to a muscle problem shortly before half-time in the Ivory Coast. The 31-year-old wore a worried look as he made his way off the pitch at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny.
But the injury is not as bad as Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool might have feared. Egypt have suggested the attacker will be back by the quarter-final stage of AFCON – which starts February 2nd – if they get that far.
A statement from the Egyptian FA read: “The X-rays that Mohamed Salah, the captain of the Egyptian national team, underwent, showed that he suffered a strain in the posterior muscle, and he will miss the team’s next two matches in the African Nations against Cape Verde, and then the round of 16 match in the event of qualification.”
Earlier on Friday, Liverpool boss Klopp struggle to offer much detail on Salah’s condition. The German said: “We don’t know anything.
“I spoke last night with him and how it is with these injuries, you need further assessment. That’s what they are doing now and then we will know more. Of course, it was in that moment a shock: ‘Oh my God, what is it?’
“We all know how rarely Mo goes off or needs to go off so there is definitely something and we will see. But I have no more information right now. There will be an ultrasound and they will do an MRI and then we will know what it is and then we will see what Egypt plans. But it’s too early [to say], sorry.”
Salah has only ever missed 10 Premier League matches for Liverpool since joining six years ago, with three of those due to AFCON in the 2021-22 campaign. He will also miss the Reds’ trip to Bournemouth this Sunday (4.30pm).
Egypt’s final group stage match is against Cape Verde next Monday (January 22nd, 8pm UK time) when they will be without their skipper. They currently sit second in Group B with their opponents top with six points from six. Ghana and Mozambique both sit on one point each.
The international tournament’s round of 16 stage takes place January 27-30. That means even if Egypt go out in the groups, Salah’s injury means he would be expected to miss the FA Cup match against Norwich at Anfield on January 28 as well as the Premier League visit of his former club Chelsea on January 31.
But he could potentially be fit for Liverpool’s away game against title rivals Arsenal at the Emirates on February 4. Egypt will however hope they are still in the competition by then, with the AFCON final not taking place until February 10.
Salah has 18 goals and nine assists in 27 matches for his Merseyside employers this season. He also has one goal and one assist in two appearances at AFCON after scoring a 97th-minute equalising penalty in Egypt’s opener against Mozambique.