Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has issued an apology after releasing information on Mohamed Salah’s injury recovery plans before Egypt’s crucial Africa Cup of Nations clash against Cape Verde. Egypt boss Rui Vitoria was left unhappy with Klopp’s comments, aiming fire at the German after the nation qualified as Group B runners-up with a 2-2 draw.
Salah returned to Liverpool to begin an intensive rehabilitation programme after withdrawing from Egypt’s 2-2 draw against Ghana last Thursday.
The Pharaohs also drew against Mozambique by the same scoreline, edging into the last 16, where Group F runners-up DR Conga await.
After Salah’s injury scare on matchday two, the Egyptian FA suggested that he would be absent for their final group game and last-16 outing if they reached the knockouts.
However, after Liverpool’s 4-0 win at AFC Bournemouth last Sunday, Klopp revealed that the 31-year-old would be returning to England to undergo treatment.
Salah’s agent added further context in the build-up to Egypt’s meeting with Cape Verde, claiming that he could be action for around a month.
After the AFCON game, Liverpool published a statement confirming the problem was “worse than first feared”.
Klopp and Ramy Abbas Issa’s comments, hours before a huge international fixture, left Vitoria unhappy.
After booking Egypt’s last-16 spot, he said: “I want to take this opportunity to clarify things.
“Mohamed Salah has an injury, which we learned before this game was a longer-term injury than we first thought, so we have had to prolong the amount of time before he can play again.
“Before the game, we did not want to say anything. Meanwhile, everything was under the control of our excellent medical team.
“Given we were going to have to travel, given the temperatures, given that we were going to be going to a different city, maybe it makes sense that Salah should have a place he can go to recover as quickly as possible.
“We didn’t want to alarm anyone. I didn’t think it was right for Liverpool, via any intermediary, to speak about this because we had a tremendously important game today.
“Salah has always been with us. Now this game is over we will find the best solution for the treatment of the player. These are the facts. This is the situation.”
On Thursday, Klopp addressed Vitoria’s criticism and offered an apology, citing confusion as the reason for his early confirmation.
“We have exactly the same target as Egypt,” Klopp explained ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round clash against Norwich City.
“When a player is injured, we try everything to get him fit as soon as possible. If Egypt are still in the tournament when he’s fit, then he will go back [to AFCON].
“If I said something too early (about Salah coming back to Merseyside) then I’m sorry. It wasn’t intentional. I just wasn’t sure what the situation was in that moment.”