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Mohamed Salah Liverpool return becomes clearer as AFCON injury confirmed

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Liverpool have been handed an update on Mohamed Salah’s injury after the Egypt captain was forced off during their 2-2 draw with Ghana.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has suffered a muscle injury in his back which will keep him out of Egypt’s next two Africa Cup of Nations fixtures. But, more tellingly for the Reds, the lack of severity surrounding the issue comes as a boost for Jurgen Klopp.

The Pharaohs need to beat Cape Verde in their final Group Stage match, or if they draw, hope that Mozambique avoid a defeat to progress to the knockout rounds. The 31-year-old is expected to miss their showdown with the Group B leaders and the second-round AFCON fixtures.

Salah provided a scare for Liverpool and Egypt after he was forced off before the break during Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Ghana. But as first reported by the ECHO, fears of a hamstring injury were dispelled as sources said that the Reds top goalscorer had suffered a muscle injury in his back.

Klopp’s side were expecting to be without their 204-goal icon until February with the feeling that Egypt will go progress throughout the tournament in West Africa. The Egyptians suffered an agonising defeat in the final, two years ago, when they were beaten on penalties by Senegal – with Salah’s then-Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane scoring the decisive spot-kick.

With the announcement from the Egyptian Football Federation, the path for a return to Premier League action for the Liverpool attacker becomes clearer. He will miss their final group stage encounter against Cape Verde – who moved on to six points with their 3-0 win over Mozambique on Friday – on January 22.

Should Egypt progress, they will face the runners-up from Group F, which consists of Morocco, DR Congo, Zambia and Tanzania, on January 28. A positive result for Rui Vitoria’s side would see them set-up a quarter-final date on February 2. Thereafter, the Africa Cup of Nations schedule has the semi-final on February 7, the third-place playoff on February 10 before the African showpiece at the Stade Alassane Ouattara on February 11.

During that period, Liverpool take on AFC Bournemouth (January 21) and Fulham in the Carabao Cup (January 24) before the reverse fixture from the opening day against Chelsea on January 31. A Group Stage elimination could coincide with a possible return for Salah against his former club, albeit fitness-depending.

Liverpool kick-off February with a tough trip against Premier League title rivals Arsenal on the fourth – judging by the Egyptian FA’s timeframe, Salah would be fit for that encounter but it would depend on whether the Pharaohs are still in the competition.

 

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