Klopp says Egypt-Senegal game 'too big in Africa' as he sits Salah, Mane in FA Cup game

Mahmoud Elassal , Monday 21 Mar 2022

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp, 54, said he sidelined Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Senegal's Sadio Mane during the 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup on Sunday because of the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff game between Egypt and Senegal is "too big in Africa."

Salah, Mane

“Mo felt the foot again from the Brighton game. [It's] not massive, but it was clear that you would not be in a game like this if you have a little bit of pain here or there. There is no chance,” Klopp said at the press conference held after the game. 

“At that moment it was clear that we will not use Sadio for the game because the game is too big in Africa,” Klopp added.

Egypt’s Salah, 29, and Senegal’s Mane, also 29, will face off in the two-leg game do-or-die qualifying playoff on 25 March in Cairo and 29 March in Dakar.

Egypt and Senegal last clashed in the African Nations Cup final in February, with Senegal - led by Mane - defeating Egypt - led by Salah - on penalties following a 0-0 draw.

“I don't want to be twice the one who is doing things like that, which could be misunderstood. The others were all unavailable. Mo was unavailable, only Sadio we left out,” the Liverpool boss said.

The 29-year-old Pharaohs skipper Salah, who picked a knock against Brighton & Hove Albion last week, helped Liverpool beat Arsenal 2-0 in the English Premier League on Wednesday to fire up the race with Man City for this year's title.

However, he suffered some tough knocks during the Arsenal game, prompting Klopp to criticise the referees for not protecting him to the needed extent.

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