Liverpool star Mohamed Salah left out of Egypt's Tokyo Olympics squad

Forward was unlikely to feature at Games after his club's reported objection over scheduling concerns

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has been omitted from the Egypt's Olympics squad, the Egyptian Football Federation (EFA) announced.

There were doubts over the availability of Salah for the Tokyo Games, following Liverpool's reported objections. The Olympic Games in Japan are scheduled to run from July 22 until August 7, which is a week before the start of the Premier League season.

Olympic football is mainly an under-23 tournament, but three over-age players are allowed in each squad. Fifa, world football's governing body, has stated that clubs are not obliged to release over-age players for the Olympics.

And as expected, Salah was not included in the squad. The 22-man squad, named by coach Shawky Gharib, included Al-Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawy, Ittihad's Ahmed Hegazy and Zamalek's Mahmoud al-Wensh. The Turkish club are taking part in July's Champions league play-offs against PSV Eindhoven.

The Pharaohs qualified for Tokyo's Games after their U-23 Afcon win in 2019. They are in Group C alongside Argentina, Spain, and Australia.

It was a turn of events that was widely expected and Egyptian Football Association president Ahmed Megahed had earlier expressed his reservations.

"I do not want to say that it is impossible for Salah to participate in the Olympics, but it is difficult," Megahed had told Egyptian broadcaster ONTimeSport last month.

"Salah agreed to lead the Olympic team during the last camp of the Egyptian team. We contacted Liverpool to allow Salah to join the Olympic team.

"In the end, Liverpool refused the request because they do not want to lose the player at the beginning of the season, as well as next January with the Africa Cup of Nations, which will keep him from participating in the English Premier League matches.

"We spoke with Salah again, and he told us that he will make a new attempt with the technical staff of his team, to resolve the matter."

In some positive news for Liverpool fans, key defender Virgil Van Dijk has declared himself "pre-season ready" in a post on Twitter.

The Netherlands captain missed almost all of last season after sustaining anterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee during October's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

Updated: July 3rd 2021, 4:23 PM
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