Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah unlikely to play for Egypt at Tokyo Olympics

Mohamed Salah is unlikely to travel to the Tokyo Olympics to represent Egypt next month, sources have told ESPN, with the Liverpool forward expected to play a full part in the club’s preseason preparations for the upcoming Premier League campaign.

The president of the Egyptian Football Association, Ahmed Megahed, has claimed this week that Salah, 29, will contact Liverpool to request permission to represent his country in Tokyo as an overage player in the squad. The age limit is 24, with three players over that age allowed to be selected.

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With the Olympics due go ahead next month despite strict COVID-19 regulations in Japan that have led to severely-restricted crowd numbers at events, Salah could be away until the week before Liverpool’s Premier League opening game at Norwich City if he travels to the games, which run from July 22 to Aug. 7.

But sources have told ESPN that while Liverpool do not have a strict policy on players not participating in the Olympics, there is no expectation at Anfield that Salah will be involved in the competition.

Liverpool have already rejected France’s request for summer signing Ibrahima Konate to be involved in their Olympics squad, with the former RB Leipzig defender due to be available at the start of preseason training on Jul 12.

And Japan forward Takumi Minamino will not be involved for the hosts after he wasn’t selected as one of their overage players.

Sources have said that Egypt are determined to have Salah, the country’s star player, involved at the Olympics, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is planning to have all of those players not at Euro 2020 or the Copa America involved in the club’s preseason training programme.

Salah’s prospects of travelling to Japan have also been impacted by the Africa Cup of Nations, which is due to be staged in Cameroon in January and February 2022 after being delayed for a year by the pandemic.

While FIFA rules do not oblige clubs to release players for the Olympics, they are required to do so for competitive international fixtures and Liverpool are already planning to be without Salah for up to six weeks for the Cup of Nations.

Senegal forward Sadio Mane and Guinea midfielder Naby Keita could also be absent from Klopp’s team for the tournament.

ESPN

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