Dejan Lovren has hailed Mohamed Salah‘s ability to play, and to perform, through the pain as the Liverpool winger sets his sights on the World Cup.
Salah was named in Egypt’s final 23-man squad for the tournament on Monday afternoon, after taking to social media on Sunday to express his “good feelings” about recovering from a shoulder injury.
The 25-year-old is currently in Spain as he undergoes rehabilitation for a problem picked up during the Champions League final, in a miserable end to a record-breaking campaign.
Having scored 44 and assisted 16 in 52 games for the Reds last season, Salah became a new talisman for Jurgen Klopp‘s side, having only missed four games.
His consistency is reminiscent of Luis Suarez, and as Lovren applauded his toughness when speaking after Croatia’s 2-0 defeat to Brazil on Sunday the comparisons were clear.
“I haven’t spoken to him a lot. Hopefully he can be fit for the World Cup because I know it means a lot to him to play for his national team,” he explained.
“I’m positive. I have some news but I will keep it to myself!
“Mo is the type of player who wants to play even when he feels pain. He showed that this season.
“There were a couple of games where people didn’t know [he was in pain] but in the end he scored a hat-trick or whatever!
“Of course it was disappointing for him that he couldn’t finish the game in Kyiv, but he’s positive and hopefully he can move on and play for the national team [at the World Cup].”
Lovren and Salah have become firm friends since the Egyptian’s £36.9 million move to Merseyside last summer, with their relationship key as they remain stalwarts of Klopp’s side.
It is interesting that the centre-back revealed that he had “some news,” and it remains to be seen whether this is regarding his injury or something else entirely.
But his point on Salah’s fitness is pertinent, as the No. 11 was a hugely dependable figure for the Reds in 2017/18, with his withdrawal in Kyiv an anomaly.
The hope will be that he is able to recover fully before linking up with the Egypt squad in Russia, and his ambition won’t cloud his judgement as he bids for international glory.
Egypt are in the World Cup finals for the first time since 1990, with Salah firing the Pharaohs to the tournament, where they will take on Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and the hosts in Group A.
Lovren also gave his first impressions of new Liverpool signing Fabinho, who will officially join the club on July 1 after the Reds agreed an initial £39 million fee with Monaco.
The defender is yet to meet his new team-mate, but hailed the club’s swift business in strengthening the squad ahead of next season.
“Of course, I am always happy that we can welcome quality players into our squad,” he added.
“To improve every season, every year, is the aim, and hopefully he can help us do it.”