Klopp defends Salah ‘the most loyal Egyptian’ after leaving AFCON

Ahram Online , Thursday 25 Jan 2024

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended the decision for Mohamed Salah to return to Liverpool from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), hitting back at critics questioning the forward’s loyalty to Egypt.

Egypt's Mohamed Salah, left, consoles team players after they conceded a late equaliser during the African Cup of Nations Group B football match between Cape Verde and Egypt at the Felix Houphouet Boigny stadium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. Photo: AP


Salah flew back to the UK on Wednesday to begin an “intensive rehabilitation programme” after picking up a hamstring injury in the Pharaohs’ 2-2 draw with Ghana last Thursday.

The 31-year-old was initially ruled out for two matches, but Liverpool’s medical staff later revealed the player is set to spend several weeks on the sidelines.

An agreement was reached between the Premier League club and the Egyptian FA for Salah to return to Merseyside for treatment but his departure from Egypt's camp was criticised by some fans, pundits and former players.

However, speaking after Liverpool's successful Carabao Cup semi-final against Fulham, Klopp clarified the circumstances surrounding Salah's return from AFCON and stated that if fit, Salah would feature for Egypt in the latter stages of the tournament.

"I cannot be part of that discussion," Klopp said to beIN SPORTS when asked about Salah potentially putting his club first. "Egypt and Liverpool both have the same interest; we want Mo Salah fit as soon as possible.

"If he stays in Africa and they can't do the proper treatment, it will just delay everything, especially for Egypt if they go through the tournament.

"We bring him here not because we want to take him away from Egypt but just to offer the best medical treatment. That is all we want.

"It's all agreed. If Salah is fit and Egypt go to the final, it was always clear; he goes back, 100 percent. Mo wants that, and we want that.

"We are completely honest, and if I said something too early… I said, 'I think it's agreed.' That's what I heard.

"The rest, some people make something out of it, and if somebody questions the loyalty of Mo Salah, they should ask themselves if their loyalty is right because Mo Salah is definitely the most loyal Egyptian I've met in my life," Klopp concluded.

Egypt will take on DR Congo in the round of 16 on Sunday, having qualified as runners-up in Group B.

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