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Egypt will be “cautious” with Mo Salah but double down ahead of friendly

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Mohamed Salah has been called up to represent Egypt this month despite Liverpool’s request for him to be omitted, and while his country’s stance remains, they claim they will be “cautious.”

The 31-year-old has not started a match since January 1 for Liverpool due to his African Cup of Nations commitments and subsequent hamstring injury.

And despite a setback at Brentford and a letter from Liverpool asking him to be exempt from international duty in March, he has been called up to Egypt’s squad for their upcoming friendly.

The Egyptian FA released a statement insisting it is their “right to include any professional player” in the squad, with “the issue of whether or not to include him is in the hands of the national team’s technical staff.”

Egypt will meet New Zealand in the UAE as part of a friendly tournament, and their stance over Salah’s inclusion has been reiterated by board member Ehab El-Komy.

El-Komy said, via KingFut: “The coaching staff, the Football Association, and the Egyptian fans are all keen on Salah’s safety.

Egypt's Mohamed Salah receives medical treatment during the African Cup of Nations Group B soccer match between Egypt and Ghana in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Thursday, Jan.18, 2024. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

“If he is not 100 percent ready, the national team coaching staff will be even more cautious about his presence in the upcoming camp.

“We have two weeks ahead of us and his recovery may be complete.

“If Mohamed Salah is ready, we will be keen on his presence. Otherwise, a different talk will be held at the appropriate time.

“Even up to the date of the international agenda, if Salah plays in any match with Liverpool, he will be ready and we will call him up to join the Egyptian national team.

“We want things to be calm, especially since Hossam Hassan wants all players to be present for Egypt’s strong start under his leadership.”

It’s an interesting stance to take, as while they want to start life under new manager Hossam Hassan on a positive note, one must also consider the long-term implications on Salah.

Jurgen Klopp didn’t sound overly optimistic when suggesting “it’s possible” the No. 11 would return in the coming week, but Egypt are insistent that if he plays between now and the international break he will be part of the squad.

In total, Salah has missed 10 Liverpool games since succumbing to the initial injury and the subsequent reoccurrence, with four still to come before the first break of 2024.