Liverpool is under pressure ahead of a crucial run of games in January when Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane will be leaving the squad to participate in the African Cup of Nations with their countries.
The Africa Cup of Nations begins in Cameroon on January 9, and FIFA regulations require players called up for national team tournaments to be available at most 14 days before the start of said tournament.
African players who will be called up by their nations are expected to start leaving their clubs in the coming weeks to join their nations to prepare for the African showpiece tournament, with some nations already making camp preparations.
Liverpool have submitted a bid to the football associations of Egypt, Guinea and Senegal to delay the call-ups of Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane until after the Chelsea game on January 2.
The Egyptian Football Association especially is making Liverpool sweat over Mohamed Salah’s African Nations Cup departure.
Jürgen Klopp is especially hoping to have his top scorer around for the crucial Chelsea clash a day after New Year’s, which is a week before AFCON begins in Cameroon.
The German manager told journalists that Liverpool are still waiting for a response from the Egyptian Football Association to learn whether Salah will have to leave Anfield to link up with the Egyptian national squad before the turn of the year.
Per the FIFA rules, Salah and co will be required to leave Liverpool for their countries’ AFCON camps immediately after the Reds’ Boxing Day match against Leeds United.
However, Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool hope to be able to keep them for a little longer for the games against Leicester on December 28 and Chelsea on January 2.
A decision is yet to be made, says Egypt FA; no word from Senegal and Guinea yet
Egyptian Football Association authorities have acknowledged the receipt of the plea from Liverpool but have not made a decision yet on the issue.
“We already received the request. It is still under consideration, and no answer has been given yet,” the spokesman for the Egyptian Football Association, Osama Ismail, told Ahram Online, an Egyptian news outfit.
Egypt manager Carlos Queiroz is key in making this decision, and according to Ahram Online, is yet to speak on it as well.
Klopp remains optimistic on the issue, regardless. “I am an optimistic person, so I hope so, but it’s not written in stone and not completely in our hands,” he said earlier in November.
Egypt will kick off their Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Nigeria on January 11.
Guinea and Senegal have not sent any word concerning their players Mane and Keita. They will be playing their first African Cup of Nations game on January 10.