Liverpool may have to do without Mohamed Salah for a substantial portion of next season, with Egypt keen to call up the prolific goalscorer for both the Olympics and the Africa Cup of Nations.
Clearly his country’s star player, the 28-year-old has scored 43 goals in 68 games for Egypt and they want him available as much as possible.
The Olympics are due to be held from 23 July – 8 August in 2021 and Salah is wanted as one of the three overage players in a squad of otherwise under-23s.
While the tournament will fall in the summer, it will rule Salah out of much of Liverpool’s pre-season and possibly mean he will miss the start of the 2021/22 season.
‘Salah is a world class player and I hope that he will be able to play with us in the Olympics. When you have such a player in your team, the objectives of the team would be different.
‘Brazil won the gold medal in Rio De Janeiro thanks to Neymar who led the Brazilian team in this competition.’
More concerning for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be the 2022 AFCON, which has twice been rescheduled from 2021 and will now land in January 2022.
Official dates have not been confirmed, but the tournament last the best part of a month.
Former Egypt striker Mido has been keen to stress the importance of Salah competing in AFCON and says Liverpool can do nothing to stop him, unless he personally pulls out.
‘Salah must go with Egypt to AFCON — and Liverpool don’t have the right to say no,’ Mido told the Sun.
‘These are Fifa rules and they can’t prevent Salah from joining the national team for any reason. If Salah doesn’t want to go, then this is the only reason for not seeing him.’
‘Salah is very important, of course, to our senior national team and to the Olympic team.’
Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Naby Keita (Guinea) may also be involved in the AFCON, although qualification for the tournament is yet to be completed, and won’t be until March 2021.