Several of Liverpool’s internationals continued to be in action over the weekend, as the start of the Africa Cup of Nations gets closer.
Many members of the Reds’ squad are finally on a well-earned break, with the majority of the European internationals now down for the season and off on holiday.
The Copa is just one of four summer international tournaments featuring Liverpool players, with the 2019 AFCON the next most high-profile event.
Keita was left out entirely while he continues to recover from injury, while Salah was named on the bench for Egypt, coming on after 60 minutes and changing the game.
He almost teed up a goal immediately, before taking on the keeper with sublime close control and firing in an angled shot which hit the post, leaving team-mate Ahmed Ali to score the rebound for a 2-1 lead.
Mohamed Salah, ending goalkeepers careers. Reminds me what he did to begovic. ? pic.twitter.com/SjATnqQubz
— Samue (@SamueILFC) June 16, 2019
Within 10 minutes Salah had helped wrap the game up, shooting just wide with one attempt before claiming a second assist for a fortuitous third Egypt goal.
The Reds’ No. 11 will be crucial to his nation’s hopes of success in the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil; their opening group game is on June 21 against Zimbabwe.
Earlier, Sadio Mane‘s Senegal beat Nigeria in a friendly, but without their key man.
Liverpool’s No. 10 and the captain of the Lions of Teranga will have to sit out their AFCON opener against Tanzania (June 23), after it was revealed he faces a one-game suspension for accumulated yellow cards in the qualifiers. Senegal boss Aliou Cisse thus opted to check out his alternative options in the behind-closed-doors fixture.
At youth level, three promising talents were involved over the weekend.
Kamil Grabara is Poland U21’s first-choice goalkeeper and he is representing them at the U21 Euros, which started on Sunday.
He played the full 90 minutes as Poland beat Belgium 3-2, picking up a yellow card in stoppage time. Grabara’s team also face Italy (June 19) and Spain (June 22) in the group stage.
Elsewhere, Liam Millar came on as sub for Canada for his fifth senior cap, playing the final 20 minutes of a 4-0 win over Martinique in the Gold Cup.
Canada also face Mexico (June 20) and Cuba (June 23) in Group A, with the top two teams progressing to the quarter-finals.
Finally, Caoimhin Kelleher started in goal for Republic of Ireland U21s in their third-place play-off at the Toulon Tournament.
Kelleher kept a clean sheet as the match finished 0-0, but he was subbed off on 64 minutes as the squad players were given a run-out for the experience.
Thus, he was not on the pitch for the penalty shoot-out—which Ireland lost 4-3 against Mexico.