Liverpool refuse to release Mohamed Salah for Egypt's World Cup qualifiers

Premier League side wary of potential Covid-19 restrictions on return from international duty

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Egypt's football federation have said that Premier League club Liverpool have refused to release Mohamed Salah for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers because of coronavirus restrictions.

Because Egypt is on Britain's red list, striker Salah would be required to quarantine for 10 days upon his return from Cairo, meaning he could miss crucial games for the Merseyside club.

Egypt are scheduled to play Angola in Cairo on September 1 before travelling to face Gabon four days later in Franceville.

Liverpool’s Brazilian trio of Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho are in a similar predicament with Brazil on the UK’s red list.

Manager Jurgen Klopp is already unhappy at Fifa’s decision to allow South American teams to have three qualifiers during the international break. Brazil face Chile on September 3, Argentina two days later and then Peru on September 10.

The four players would potentially miss Liverpool's match with Leeds United on September 12, their first Champions League fixture and Crystal Palace’s visit to Anfield on September 18.

Egypt also wanted Salah to play for the national team at the Tokyo Olympics, but Liverpool again denied the request. Clubs are not obligated to release players for the Olympic foootball tournament.

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The Egyptian FA said: “The Egyptian Football Association has received a letter from Liverpool FC apologising for the inability of its player, Mohamed Salah, to join the national team in its next camp, which includes facing Angola in Cairo and Gabon in Franceville during the first and second rounds of the African continent’s qualifiers for the World Cup.

“The English club’s letter referred to the precautionary measures applied in England to confront the outbreak of the coronavirus in the world, which puts returnees from some countries in compulsory health isolation for a period of 10 days upon their return to England.

“In this letter, the English club also expressed its hope that the Egyptian Federation would understand that it was forced to do so, in the face of the player being subjected to a quarantine for this period and being affected by this physically, as well as the uncertainty of the conditions determined by the English authorities. It is noteworthy that Liverpool FC took the same position with a number of its foreign players.”

Last season, Salah tested positive for Covid-19 after attending his brother's wedding in Egypt which meant he missed games for both club and country.

Updated: August 23, 2021, 3:58 PM