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Liverpool hit back at accusations Mo Salah has been ‘plotting Afcon departure’ after returning to Merseyside with injury

LIVERPOOL have hit back at accusations Mo Salah has been “plotting his departure” from the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Egyptian superstar will today arrive back on Merseyside for treatment on his hamstring injury.

Mohamed Salah was accused of'plotting his departure' from Afcon

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Mohamed Salah was accused of ‘plotting his departure’ from AfconCredit: Getty
But Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders, left, gave a strong rebuttal to the claim

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But Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders, left, gave a strong rebuttal to the claimCredit: PA

But Pharaohs legend Ahmed Hassan, his country’s most capped player with 184 appearances, insisted he should have stayed in Ivory Coast “even if he had only one leg to stand on”.

Reds assistant boss Pep Lijnders blasted back: “You should never doubt the commitment of Mo Salah. I never met a guy who is more committed to the life of being a professional football player.

“I know that his country is devastated to lose him, we were devastated to hear that he got injured.”

Hassan, who helped Egypt win four Afcons between 1998 and 2010, said: “I’ve always backed Salah and I was happy with his presence as captain — but it turned out that he was plotting his departure from the Egypt camp. He is the captain.

“He should stay with the team no matter what, even if he only had one leg to stand on.”

Salah was injured just before half-time in his country’s 2-2 draw against Ghana on Thursday.

Egypt issued a statement saying he would miss two games but Salah’s agent revealed the problem was “more serious than first thought and he will be out for 21-28 days”.

Ahead of Liverpool’s Carabao Cup semi- final second leg at Fulham on Wednesday night, Lijnders added: “The only reason why their medical team and our team decided for him to come back is to give him the best possible chance to be available in the final if Egypt reach the final.”

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Egypt boss Rui Vitoria was upset details of Salah’s problem had been leaked and suggested his own “excellent” medical team could have treated him.

The tournament’s climax takes place on February 11 but there appears little chance that the 31-year-old will be there.

Lijnders added: “There’s a proper tear in his hamstring. The expected return to playing will take three to four weeks if everything goes smooth and right.

“It will go smooth and it will go right because of the way Mo has treated his body before.

“What I am really happy about is the medical teams of Egypt and Liverpool worked together and were in close contact.

“It is an example of how international football and club football should operate.

“All of us made the decision that is best for him.”

Boss Jurgen Klopp can look forward to the return of Scottish left-back Andy Robertson who has been out for three months after dislocating his shoulder.

Lijnders revealed he is in the squad for Fulham and said: “The medical team said it’s a coaching decision, so he’s in!”

Trent Alexander-Arnold is set to return to training at the end of this week and could face Norwich in the FA Cup on Sunday.

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