With Egypt knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday night, Mohamed Salah is back on club duty, with the wait on now until he is back from injury.
Salah watched on from Merseyside as his country suffered a penalty shootout defeat to DR Congo on Sunday, having suffered a hamstring injury earlier in the tournament.
Sidelined after the 2-2 draw with Ghana in the group stage, the captain was powerless to stop Egypt from an early exit, having already flown back to the UK.
Though it was a strangely controversial decision in his home country, it was agreed between Liverpool and the Egyptian FA that his recovery would be accelerated with specialist treatment at the AXA Training Centre.
That was designed for Salah to possibly return before the end of AFCON, but that will clearly not be the case now when it comes to Egypt.
Instead, the 31-year-old can continue his rehabilitation with a view to aiding Liverpool’s fight on all four fronts in the final months of Jurgen Klopp‘s reign.
Salah’s representative, Ramy Abbas Issa, updated on his client’s injury last week, explaining that it was “more serious than first thought” and he was facing 21 to 28 days out.
If that timeline still stands, the earliest Salah would return for Liverpool is against Burnley on February 10.
That would be three weeks and two days since the injury, meaning even that could be an optimistic return date for the forward.
More realistic could be the visit of Brentford on February 17, though again that would be only two days on from a potential four-week layoff.
He is among the most physically fit and durable players in Klopp’s squad, though, and there is every chance he pulls a surprise and makes an early comeback.
There are four more games between that and the final international break of the season, those being Man City (home), the home leg of the Europa League last 16, Everton (away) and then the Europa League decider.