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Mohamed Salah leaving AFCON to rehab injury with Liverpool

Mohamed Salah will return to Liverpool for treatment on his hamstring injury, but only after watching Egypt complete their group fixtures at the Africa Cup of Nations finals when they meet Cape Verde Islands in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Monday.

The Egypt Football Association (EFA) confirmed he will continue his treatment at his club as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had suggested earlier on Sunday following their 4-0 Premier League win at Bournemouth.

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Egypt, however, still hope Salah could play a role at the tournament.

“We are hoping to catch him in the semifinals of the Africa Nations Cup in case of qualification,” the EFA said in a statement.

Salah picked up the injury against Ghana on Thursday and no time scale has yet been given on the recovery. Salah faced the media on Saturday in the Ivory Coast but sidestepped any questions over the severity of the injury.

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Klopp had said earlier in the day that he expected Salah to return to Liverpool to go through his rehab or at least work with the medical staff.

“That’s the plan,” Klopp said. “However long he is out, it probably makes sense for everybody to [rehab] with us [in Liverpool] or with our people. That’s the plan. If that’s written in stone already, I don’t know.”

Klopp said he spoke with Salah on the night of the injury and added that since then any contact has been with the Liverpool medical staff. And if Salah recovers quickly, then he could yet return to AFCON to help Egypt, Klopp said.

“I’m not a doctor,” Klopp said. “I would say if Egypt qualifies for the final then probably yes. Ivory Coast, I’m sure it’s a wonderful country, but we have no people from us there. They have people who have to take care of the players who are playing.”

Salah said Saturday of the injury: “I am happy to be here, my injury is still there but the most important thing is to speak about the game. We have great players, a great team and we just need to fight and see what is going to happen.”

Despite Salah’s absence, Liverpool comfortably beat Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday to extend their lead to five points at the top of the Premier League. Darwin Núñez and Diogo Jota grabbed two goals apiece in the second half, and Klopp was delighted with their performances.

After a tense first half, Klopp changed things up at the break and played Núñez on the left and Jota through the middle.

“In the moment we find rhythm we are strong,” Klopp said. “We should start the games better but it’s about 98 minutes, it’s about winning the games in the end. As long as you stay in the game… today step by step we found a way and we won.”

While it was the forwards who grabbed the match-winning goals, Klopp was also thrilled with the controlled performance from Alexis Mac Allister at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield.

“Absolutely exceptional performance, I’m so happy for us but for him as well. He’s a really good footballer and defensively did a job and offensively he’s a super important player for us. He’s calm on the ball and the good things in the first half were him,” Klopp said.

The manager was also delighted with Conor Bradley’s performance at right-back in his Premier League debut. “Pretty good, really good, very impressive,” Klopp said. “Wonderful kid, really hard worker and a good footballer. It was a good game.”

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