09/12/2021; 1:42 PM By : Steven D. Thompson
Egypt authorities are yet to respond to the request by the Reds, with Mane and Keita also set for AFCON.
The African Cup of Nations is the bane of Premier League teams with African internationals. The clubs have no choice but to lose those players to the tournament early in the year when the league has reached the business end.
Liverpool have three African internationals in their squad and will lose these players to the tournament in January. Sadio Mane (Senegal), Naby Keita (Guinea) and Mohamed Salah (Egypt) are vital players for their club and national team.
With the AFCON coming up early in the year, Liverpool had hoped to delay the departure of the players as they have vital club matches just before the tournament kicks off.
The African Cup of Nations begins in Cameroon on January 9, and under FIFA regulations, players invited by their national teams have to be released 14 days before the tournament kicks off.
It is the dilemma that Liverpool finds itself with three African players called up by their national teams. It would have been four, but Matip has already ruled himself out of international football.
While Liverpool is ready to play by the rules, it hopes to get concessions from the national side with Mohamed Salah. The Anfield side has a Premier League tie with Chelsea on January 2, a week before the tournament kicks off. Liverpool hoped to count on the services of the Egyptian international. Egypt plays its first AFCON match against Nigeria on January 11.
By the rule, Mohamed Salah has to report to his national side after Liverpool’s Boxing Day tie against Leeds United. Jurgen Klopp confessed that Liverpool were in discussions with the Egyptian FA to allow the club to keep Salah for a bit longer.
The same discussions have also been ongoing with the Senegalese and Guinean FA. Liverpool also hopes to delay Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.
Liverpool are challenging for the Premier League title and are currently second behind Manchester City. They are due to take on Leicester City in a high stakes match on December 28 and on January 2 will lock horns with Chelsea.
Requests made to the Egypt FA have yielded no results yet as they are still unable to confirm whether Salah would be allowed to stay or resume with the national team as the law stipulates.
The Pharaohs are favourites to win AFCON, but their FA has confessed that a decision is yet to be made.
Ahram Online reports that Osama Ismail has responded to Liverpool’s request. He said it has been received and is under consideration. They are yet to respond to the request by Liverpool. Former Manchester United manager Carlos Quieroz, who now handles the Pharaohs of Egypt, is undecided on when Salah would link up with the national team.
Salah and Mane have contributed 20 of the 44 goals scored by Liverpool in the Premier League this season and will be a big miss for the Reds.