Egyptian football star, Mohamed Salah has tested positive for coronavirus and added to Liverpool’s mounting list of absentees to give Jurgen Klopp another headache.
The Egyptian FA confirmed on Friday that Salah, Liverpool’s leading scorer with eight goals, had contracted Covid-19 but was asymptomatic.
He has begun a period of isolation in Cairo and must remain in Egypt for the next week before he is allowed to return to England.
Salah, who was pictured on social media at his brother’s wedding earlier this week and also attended an awarded ceremony in Cairo on Wednesday held in his honour by the Egyptian FA will now miss Liverpool’s next two games, against Leicester and Atalanta, in the Champions League.
He is the fourth Liverpool player to have tested positive – the others were left-back Kostas Tsimikas, Thiago Alcantara and Sadio Mane – and his absence means that Klopp will potentially be without seven senior players for the top of the table clash with Leicester on Sunday, November 22.
Klopp this week lost Joe Gomez, who underwent successful surgery in London to repair the ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee.
He faces a significant period of rehabilitation with his central defensive partner Virgil van Dijk, who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament last month.
Thiago, who has only played 135 minutes since his £20million move from Bayern Munich in September, continues to receive treatment for the knee injury he sustained in the 2-2 draw with Everton, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is not yet ready to return from medial ligament damage.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is out for a month after damaging his calf in last week’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City, while Fabinho is working his way back from a hamstring issue. The Brazilian, of the septet, is most likely to be ready to face Leicester.
In a short statement released on Twitter the Egyptian FA revealed Salah’s positive test, saying: ‘The medical swab conducted on the mission of our first national football team showed that our international player, Mohamed Salah, the star of Liverpool, was infected with coronavirus, after his test came positive, although he does not suffer from any symptoms.
‘Meanwhile the other members of the team were negative.’
The statement was later deleted and replaced with information that three players from Egypt had in fact tested positive for coronavirus – without naming Salah – as well as some members of Saturday’s opposition Togo and second tests will be carried out before the clash.
The Egyptian FA later confirmed that Salah had returned a second positive test.
The EFA said Salah was now isolating, and that he would be ‘subject to more checks in the coming hours’.
The positive test should not sideline him for too long, provided he remains asymptomatic or develops only mild symptoms.
Salah’s positive test comes just days after he attended the wedding of his brother Nasr held in the country’s capital of Cairo.
The 28-year-old wasn’t the only footballer at the wedding with Egypt team-mate Mahmoud Trezeguet, who plays for Aston Villa, also in attendance.
The news is a blow to Egypt and their bid to qualify for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations due to take place across January and February 2022. On Saturday they are due to host Togo before travelling to their opponent on Tuesday.
Egypt currently sit third in Group G with two points from two matches. Comoros top the group with four points.
Liverpool are not due to play again until their home Premier League match against Leicester, which has been moved to a 7.15pm kick-off on Sunday, November 22.
The Egyptian has been in stunning form in front of goal for Liverpool this season, and is the joint-leading scorer in the Premier League with eight strikes so far.
Salah’s news comes a day after it was confirmed Reds defender Joe Gomez had undergone knee surgery following an injury suffered in England training.
Liverpool said he had damaged a tendon in his left knee but there was no ligament damage.
Virgil Van Dijk has suffered a long-term knee injury while Fabinho is also sidelined.