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Mohamed Salah will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks with the hamstring injury he suffered while playing for Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders confirmed on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old sustained the injury during the Pharaohs’ clash with Ghana last Thursday. After initial optimism that the ailment wasn’t serious, Salah’s representative, Ramy Abbas Issa, posted on social media that “he will be out for 21-28 days, and not two games.”
Both Abbas and Liverpool agreed that Salah’s injury was worse than first feared.
“They made a detailed scan and it came out that it was a proper tear in his hamstring. So it means his expected return to play is between three to four weeks if everything goes smooth and everything goes right,” Lijnders said ahead of the second leg of the Reds’ League Cup semifinal against Fulham.
“Knowing Mo it will go smooth and it will go right because (of) how he’s treated his body before.”
Salah attended Egypt’s dramatic 2-2 draw with Cape Verde on Monday before he’s due to arrive at Liverpool’s training complex Wednesday. Mozambique struck two stoppage-time goals to earn a 2-2 tie with Ghana in a concurrent fixture, meaning Egypt’s third straight draw at the Africa Cup of Nations was enough for a place in the last 16.
“Salah will immediately begin work with the club’s medical staff upon his return to Merseyside with a view to being back in action as soon as possible for club and country,” Liverpool said in a statement, “giving him the best chance to return to compete at AFCON if Egypt, who qualified for the knockout stage with a 2-2 draw against Cape Verde tonight, continue to advance in the tournament.”
Lijnders suggested that Salah’s return to AFCON is only possible if Egypt makes the final on Feb. 11.
“I know the country is devastated losing him. We were devastated to hear that he got injured. He plays the first game, scores, assists, captain, massive importance of course,” Lijnders said. “But the only reason why our medical team and their medical 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.”
Salah has one goal at the tournament, as he converted a late penalty to salvage a draw for his country in its opener against Mozambique on Jan. 14.
Egypt faces the runner-up in Group F on Sunday. Its potential quarterfinal will be staged on Feb. 2 before the semifinals are held on Feb. 7.