Mohamed Salah has been called up to the Egypt squad for the March international break, but a decrease in travel time can be a boost to Liverpool.
Salah is undoubtedly the Reds’ star man this season, with 32 goals and 11 assists in 40 games since joining from AS Roma proving him invaluable to Jurgen Klopp.
He is similarly important to his national team, as while Hector Cuper has the likes of Mahmoud Trezeguet and Ramadan Sobhi to call upon, none are at the level of Liverpool’s No. 11.
Having been left out of Egypt’s dead-rubber World Cup qualifier away to Ghana in November at his own request, Salah returns to Cuper’s squad this month.
The 25-year-old is part of a 28-man group for preparations ahead of the summer’s tournament in Russia, with Egypt making their first appearance in the World Cup since 1990.
And their plans for the March break are heavily weighted towards their Europe-based talent, which is a major positive for Liverpool.
Egypt will fly to a training camp in Switzerland from March 20 to March 28, with two friendlies to be held in Zurich, taking on Portugal (March 23) and Greece (March 27).
This will see Salah travel around 850 miles from Merseyside, with the 1,700-mile round trip considerably less demanding than in previous international breaks this season.
For back-to-back qualifiers against Uganda in Kampala (August 31) and Borg El Arab (September 5), the winger undertook a 8,560-mile round trip.
And for the clash with Congo in Borg El Arab on October 8, Salah flew 4,453 miles, over two times the amount of the upcoming break.
Salah’s exceptional output this season has been largely due to a remarkable ability to maintain his fitness, having missed just one game through injury so far.
But the decision to withdraw himself from selection for Egypt’s last game highlights the risk of burnout due to transcontinental travel.
This is something Klopp acknowledged when he omitted Salah from his squad for the FA Cup third-round clash at home to Everton in January, with the No. 11 in Ghana the day before.
Sadio Mane—who also attended the CAF Awards that day, losing out on the Player of the Year award to his team-mate—did feature in that 2-1 win, however.
Both Mane and Roberto Firmino face lengthier journeys with Senegal and Brazil respectively this month.
Senegal play Uzbekistan in Casablanca, Morocco on March 23, before taking on Bosnia & Herzegovina in Le Havre, France on March 27, with Mane set to make a 2,975-mile round trip.
Brazil face Russia in Moscow on March 23 and Germany in Berlin on March 27, ensuring a round trip of approximately 3,293 miles.
Dejan Lovren is due to the travel the furthest of any Liverpool player this month, with Croatia lining up friendlies against Peru in Florida (March 24) and Mexico in Texas (March 28).
Liverpool take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on March 31, in a 12.30pm kickoff (BST).