“Fingers Crossed” – Neil Jones On Availability Of Liverpool ‘Workhorse’ Ahead Of Prague Trip

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It took a 99th-minute header from Darwin Núñez to get Liverpool over the line against Nottingham Forest.

The Reds sealed a 1-0 victory on the banks of the River Trent, much to the dismay of the home supporters. Núñez’s late winner has caused a truckload of semi-confected outrage, with the likes of Mike Dean and Jermaine Jenas heavily criticising referee Paul Tierney for giving the away team the ball after a head injury.

The result could prove vital in the race for the title, with both Manchester City and Arsenal running out comfortable winners in their respective games. Jürgen Klopp’s side sit one point ahead of current champions City – the two meet in a crunch clash at Anfield this Sunday.

One man Kopites are praying is involved in the fixture is Mo Salah. The Egyptian King is rumoured to be close to a return after aggravating an injury in the victory over Brentford. Salah has missed the majority of first-team action since the new year.

It’s not just Liverpool fans who are sweating over the return of their star man, however. Egypt legend and national team coach Hossam Hassan is expecting Mo to join up with the Pharaohs for a friendly against New Zealand in the UAE. The Daily Mail reported that the Egyptian FA have rejected LFC’s request that Salah miss the fixture to aid his recovery from injury.

On the latest episode of our Journo Insight show, we asked experienced LFC reporter Neil Jones for the latest on Salah.


Neil said:

“I can completely understand Egypt’s perspective. If Salah’s back playing against City on Sunday and being involved – potentially – in the United Cup game, or whatever – what can you do? 

“If he comes back and plays for Liverpool, I think they can’t really fight too hard on that front, as annoying as it is.  

“I’d be surprised if he’s involved against Sparta Prague, but I think Liverpool would love to have him for 20 minutes off the bench or whatever against City on Sunday. Fingers crossed. 

“Klopp said there’s a chance he could come back to training this week. I wonder if he doesn’t come back to training this week and he misses that City game, would Liverpool actually say, ‘Swerve the next week, we’ll take an extra week to get you ready’? 

“That would possibly rule him out of the Egypt squad anyway. Then you’ve got a fresh Salah coming back, hopefully completely healed and recovered for the post-international break fixtures. 

“Liverpool train tomorrow at the AXA – it’s open training. We’re always waiting for that little video or picture of Salah jogging out with the rest of the squad. Hopefully. 

“If not, maybe you’ll get it on Friday, and he’ll be ready to go against City. Fingers crossed.”


Redmen Reacts

As inconvenient as it may be for Liverpool to watch their star man jet off to the Middle East to play in a meaningless friendly, it may end up being for a good reason. Salah is only likely to miss the international fixture if he plays no part in the upcoming Sparta Prague and Manchester City games. He will likely have to travel to the UAE if he plays some part in those fixtures, but at least that will mean he is fit enough to play in possibly the defining match of the 2023/24 season. If Salah – who was hailed as a ‘workhorse’ by Klopp – does return this week but is restricted to cameos, he can continue his recovery in what will effectively be a warm-weather training camp, whilst potentially gaining some match sharpness in an Egypt shirt.

No matter what the outcome on Sunday, there will still be 10 massive Premier League fixtures remaining, as well as potentially huge ties in the FA Cup and Europa League. A fit and firing Salah would be a major boost to Liverpool’s chances in all three competitions. With relationships between the club and the Egyptian FA frayed, it will be in the interest of both parties that Mo is not overworked in the next international break.

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