Salah could play for Liverpool days after AFCON Final
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Mohamed Salah could feature against Leicester on Thursday after his return from the Africa Cup of Nations. However, Sadio Mane will not feature after returning to Senegal to celebrate his country’s triumph.
Senegal defeated Egypt on penalties in Sunday evening’s showpiece final. Mane scored the winning spot-kick after missing one in normal time, with Salah not getting the chance to take one. Mane was also awarded Player of the Tournament.
Klopp has previously been vocal about issues of player welfare. If Salah features against Leicester, he will have played six games in 22 days, including a flight back from Cameroon. Four of Egypt's games at the AFCON went to 120 minutes.
Speaking about the pair’s availability, Klopp said: “Mo is now back, I spoke already to him. He is very disappointed of course, but looking forward to all the things coming up here now. I spoke to him and pretty much the first thing Mo told me was: ‘I’m ready.’ Haha!
“He is an experienced player, he is a physical monster, to be honest, so we have to see. He will obviously have a little recovery session today and we will see how he feels tomorrow and from there we go.
“The proper plan we don’t have, play him as often and as long as possible is probably the plan, but we will not rush it. But if he is fine we will not leave him out for the wrong reasons as well, so let’s see.”
Asked about playing Salah or Mane against Leicester, Klopp said: “Yes, yes. Sadio no chance as he’s not even here, but Mo yes.”
He continued: “Sadio flies out if it’s possible on Wednesday night, so will arrive here on Thursday but he is, of course, then not involved in the Leicester game.”
Liverpool are second in the Premier League, nine points behind leaders Manchester City, but with a game in hand.