Mohamed Salah‘s latest test for COVID-19 has returned as positive, meaning the Liverpool striker will be ruled out of Sunday’s clash with Leicester.
The Reds had retained hope that Salah could return ahead of the weekend’s Premier League game, with the Egyptian Ministry of Health’s head of COVID-19 expecting a negative result with his latest swab.
But after testing positive in two tests last Friday, the 28-year-old has returned the same result in a third test on Wednesday, the Egyptian FA have confirmed.
Both Salah and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny will remain self-isolating as a result, ruling out the possibility of a return to Merseyside ahead of the visit of Leicester.
The No. 11 could also miss Wednesday night’s Champions League clash with Atalanta, and will be considered a doubt for the trip to Brighton the following Saturday.
It is another blow for Liverpool in a season hampered by injuries and illness, with Thiago, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson all doubtful for the weekend.
Salah’s place in the side could be taken by Diogo Jota, if Jurgen Klopp switches back to a 4-3-3, although the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi will also be hopeful of a start.
The Egyptian is the fifth Liverpool player to have contracted COVID-19 already this season, following Shaqiri, Thiago, Sadio Mane and Kostas Tsimikas.
He is unlikely to be the last to do either, unfortunately, though at least this is the final international break of the year, with the next time Klopp’s squad leave their ‘bubble’ being in March.