LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 7, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. Fulham won 1-0 extending Liverpool's run to six consecutive home defeats. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Why Mohamed Salah could miss 24% of Liverpool’s games next season

Mohamed Salah has missed only 16 of the 214 games Liverpool have played since his arrival, but that figure could soon grow as he represents his country on the world stage.

The Egyptian has been as consistent as they come since arriving at Anfield in 2017, scoring 23 goals or more in each of his four seasons for a total of 123 to date.

It’s a tally that already has him placed joint-12th in the club’s all-time top goalscorers list and one which has proven a shining light in an otherwise tough season for Liverpool in front of goal.

His dependability on the scoresheet is matched by his constant availability, with only five games missed in the Premier League and Champions League due to injury or illness.

And while his future has been much discussed, he is a key cog in Jurgen Klopp‘s machine but Salah is a weapon his manager may not be able to call upon with such ease in 2021/22.

That is due to his expected involvement in the Olympics and at the Africa Cup of Nations, with both tournaments encroaching on next season.

It means in the worst-case scenario, Salah could miss 13 games in 2021/22, and using the average matches played in the last three seasons (54), it would mean he would be absent for 24 percent of Liverpool’s games.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah looks dejected during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madird CF at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Involvement in Olympics and AFCON could see Salah miss 13 games
  • A tally which amounts to 24% of Liverpool’s average games in a season
  • Salah has failed to play in only 16 games to date since signing in 2017
  • Reds will play in Premier League, FA Cup and potentially Europe at those times

Egypt have named Salah in their preliminary squad as one of their three overage players for the Tokyo Olympics, which starts on July 21 and ends with the final on August 7.

The Reds are not forced to let him go, but the wishes of the No. 11 will prove decisive, where a run to the final will come a week before the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.

A break of at least three weeks would then see him miss the first three league games in addition to a potential two-legged play-off for the Europa Conference League.

The earliest he would return from the Olympics would be at the conclusion of the group stage on July 28, 17 days prior to the new league season.

There is then AFCON, which has returned to its slot at the start of the year and is to start on January 9 and end on February 6 following its postponement in 2021.

It comes at a time during the winter months when the Reds could play more than nine games in the Premier League and FA Cup combined.

Sadio Mane and Naby Keita will similarly be absent during this time to hand Klopp and co. another headache, which the manager previously labelled a “catastrophe.”

It stresses the need for attacking reinforcements this summer with the worst-case scenario to see Salah absent for three less than all the games he has missed over the course of four seasons to date.