Salah's Loyalty Defended by Liverpool in Wake of AFCON Departure Rumors

Salah's Loyalty Defended by Liverpool || Imago

Salah's Loyalty Defended by Liverpool in Wake of AFCON Departure Rumors

Stephen Oladehinde 20:57 - 24.01.2024

Liverpool have swiftly countered accusations against star player Mohamed Salah, suggesting he was planning an early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Egyptian ace is returning to Merseyside for treatment following a hamstring injury, sparking a heated debate over his commitment to the national team.

Salah's Injury Sparks Controversy

Egyptian football legend Ahmed Hassan publicly criticized Salah's decision to leave the tournament, arguing that as captain, he should have remained with the team regardless of his condition. 

“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,” Hassan remarked as reported by the Sun.

Liverpool's assistant manager, Pep Lijnders, fiercely defended Salah, highlighting his dedication. “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,” Lijnders stated.

Pep Lijnders, Liverpool's assistant manager || Imago
Pep Lijnders, Liverpool's assistant manager || Imago

Liverpool Responds to Criticism

The saga intensified when Salah’s agent revealed the injury was more severe than initially thought, sidelining him for up to four weeks. 

This revelation stirred further controversy, with Egypt's manager Rui Vitoria expressing disappointment over the leak of Salah's injury details and suggesting that the national team's medical staff was capable of handling his treatment.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah || Imago
Liverpool star Mohamed Salah || Imago

Lijnders emphasized the collaboration between Liverpool and Egypt's medical teams, considering it a prime example of how club and international teams should work together. 

“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 reaches the final,” he explained.

Liverpool's Injury Updates

In the backdrop of this controversy, Liverpool prepares for their upcoming Carabao Cup semi-final against Fulham. The club is buoyed by the return of Scottish left-back Andy Robertson after a three-month absence due to a shoulder injury. 

Lijnders confirmed Robertson's availability, noting that his inclusion in the squad is now a coaching decision. Trent Alexander-Arnold is also on the cusp of returning, potentially featuring in the FA Cup match against Norwich.