Mohamed Salah is facing an early exit from the World Cup after Egypt lost their second consecutive Group A game on Tuesday night.
A 3-1 win for Russia gave the hosts a comfortable victory to add to a 5-0 triumph in their tournament opener, and they are now favourites to make the last 16.
But having also lost in their first fixture, Egypt will exit the World Cup if Uruguay take at least a point from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday afternoon – which is highly likely!
This pours further misery on Salah after his tragic end to a sensational maiden campaign with Liverpool, having also been forced off midway through the first half of the Champions League final.
The shoulder injury he suffered at the hands of Sergio Ramos kept Salah out of Egypt’s unfortunate 1-0 defeat to Uruguay, and he was clearly rusty in St Petersburg.
After scoring 44 goals in 52 games for Liverpool on their way to Kyiv and firing his nation to their first World Cup since 1990, but clearly still labouring with the injury he struggled to make an impact against Russia.
Salah showed character to play with the issue and he scored a late penalty after he was brought down in the box, but it did little to improve Egypt’s hopes of progressing beyond the group stage.
Their final game comes against Saudi Arabia on June 25, and after that he will be given an extended break before returning for pre-season.
Liverpool’s non-internationals will report back to Melwood on July 2, with friendlies scheduled against Chester, Tranmere Rovers, Bury and Blackburn Rovers before the tour of the United States.
Though Salah won’t feature in those domestic clashes, he is now likely to make an early appearance in the International Champions Cup, potentially against Borussia Dortmund on July 22.
It will be scant consolation for the Egyptian King, however, as his talents are deserving of much more on the international stage.