Liverpool have blocked Mohamed Salah‘s call-up to the Egypt squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Angola and Gabon due to COVID-19 concerns.
Egypt are due to play Angola (September 2) and Gabon (September 5) as they bid to qualify for next year’s World Cup, but they will be without Salah for those games.
The Egyptian FA (EFA) have confirmed that they received a letter from Liverpool apologising for their refusal to release the No. 11 for duty, due to “precautionary measures” in the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with every club in the European Club Association.
As it stands, elite sportspeople are no longer exempt from quarantine rules when travelling to red-listed countries for events, which means that a 10-day isolation would be required upon return to the UK.
With Egypt on the red list, Salah has not been permitted to join his national team – and though there is a possibility he is involved against amber-listed Gabon, the EFA’s statement suggests that is not the case.
This would mean that the 29-year-old will be afforded a break between the clashes with Chelsea (August 28) and Leeds (September 12) unless a late exemption is made.
Interestingly, the EFA add that “it is reported that Liverpool FC took the same position with a number of its foreign players.”
It would stand to reason that Liverpool would also block call-ups for Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, with both Brazil and Chile (where they would travel for a World Cup qualifier on September 3) on the red list.
During his pre-Burnley press conference last week, Jurgen Klopp touched upon the issue with players departing for an international break that will see some play three games, rather than the usual two.
The situation should see the club take priority whenever possible, and that seems to be the case with those travelling to red-listed countries.
If Salah were to join the Egypt squad, for example, he would then miss the Leeds game and be short of training for the visit of Crystal Palace on September 18.