GET YOUR SOUVENIRS!

Egypt's injured player Mohamed Salah watches his team mates warm up before the African Cup of Nations Group B soccer match between Cape Verde and Egypt at the Felix Houphouet Boigny stadium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

Egypt knocked OUT of AFCON – Mo Salah to stay at Liverpool

Mohamed Salah is now expected to resume club duties upon his return from injury, with Egypt knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Salah returned to Merseyside earlier this week to undergo specialist treatment on a hamstring injury.

That proved controversial in his native Egypt, with high-profile ex-players among those to suggest he had opted for club over country.

But the plan was agreed between Liverpool and the Egyptian FA: Salah would focus on his rehabilitation at the AXA Training Centre to give him the best opportunity to return before AFCON concluded.

It is now a moot point, though, with Egypt suffering a penalty shootout defeat to DR Congo in the last 16.

The two sides were held at 1-1 after extra time, with Egypt going down to 10 men as the tie went to spot-kicks – which DR Congo eventually won 8-7, after goalkeeper Gabaski saw his penalty hit the bar and go over.

Egypt are therefore out of the tournament and, bar any extracurricular plans, Salah will not be required to fly back out to the Ivory Coast.

It will be a bitter blow for the forward, who despite claims to the contrary is fiercely committed to his country as captain.

But those at Liverpool will be quietly relishing the news that Salah can now return to domestic action as soon as he finds fitness.

The official diagnosis of Salah’s hamstring injury is that he would miss three to four weeks from the 2-2 draw with Ghana on January 18.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 20, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between LASK and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Andrew Yeats/Propaganda)

That would suggest his earliest return date would be February 8, with a possible comeback against Burnley two days later.

Perhaps more realistic would be the visit of Brentford in the Premier League on February 17, though the situation hinges entirely on Salah’s recovery.

The 31-year-old is not only rarely injured but he is known as a fast healer, and there could be a chance he makes his return even sooner.

That could, of course, lead to complications in how he is perceived in Egypt – which could be seen as a PR nightmare.

But crucially, Salah will almost certainly be back to full fitness in time for the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea on February 25.