- Jurgen Klopp has launched a passionate defence of Mohamed Salah
- He hit back at a reporter following questions over the Liverpool star’s loyalty
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The 31-year-old was substituted during Egypt‘s 2-2 draw against Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations last Thursday. Mail Sport understands that Salah, who suffered a hamstring injury, could now be sidelined for up to four weeks and has flown back to Merseyside for treatment.
The decision to bring him back to the UK was criticised by Egypt’s most-capped player, Ahmed Hassan, who had stated that Salah should stay to support his national team.
While there is a chance the forward could still return to play in the later stages of the tournament, Klopp was asked by a reporter on Wednesday whether he thought the Liverpool star was priotitising his club over his national side.
Speaking to BeIN Sports after his side booked their place in the final of the Carabao Cup with a 3-2 aggregate win against Fulham, Klopp fired back at the journalist, saying: ‘I cannot be part of that discussion.’
‘Egypt and Liverpool have exactly the same interests, we want Mo Salah fit as quickly as possible.
‘If he stays there and can’t do the proper treatment that will just delay everything, especially for Egypt if they go through the tournament.
‘So, we bring him here not because we want to take him away from Egypt but because we want to offer the best medical treatment, that’s all we want.’
Egyptian media had called Klopp ‘disrespectful’ for being the one to announce the news that Salah would be returning back to Liverpool rather than his national side.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have tried to defuse the row by endeavouring to ensure Salah recovers as fast as possible. Klopp’s assistant Pep Lijnders had also said that the decision for him to return had been made in conjunction with Egypt’s medical staff.
The German manager continued: ‘It’s all agreed and it’s clear, if Egypt go through to the final and Mo is fit, Mo goes back, 100 per cent, Mo wants that, we want that we don’t plan with Mo and think we can do a little bit here or there.’
‘We are completely honest, and if I said something too early… what I said, I didn’t announce it, I said ‘I think it’s agreed’ that’s what I heard. I have so many things to do and so many things going on around me.
‘The rest, some people make something out of it, and if somebody questions the loyalty of Mo Salah they should ask themselves if their loyalty is right, because Mo Salah is definitely the most loyal Egyptian I’ve met in my life.’
Salah scored and returned an assist in Egypt’s Africa Cup of Nations opening match against Mozambique, helping his side secure a late 2-2 draw.
He has also been pivotal for Liverpool this season amassing 18 goals and nine assists in 27 appearances for the Reds.
Lijnders said earlier this week: ‘I know Egypt are devastated to lose him. We were devastated to hear he got injured.
‘The only reason their medical team and our team decided for him to come back is to give him the best possible chance to be available if Egypt reach the final (on February 11).