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Egypt making Liverpool sweat over Salah’s African Nations Cup departure

Liverpool had been hoping to call on Salah for the Premier League match against Chelsea on January 2, just a week before the international tournament begins

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Liverpool are still waiting to learn whether top scorer Mohamed Salah will be forced to link up with the Egyptian national squad before the turn of the year.

The Africa Cup of Nations begins in Cameroon on January 9, and Fifa regulations mean players called up for the tournament should be made available 14 days before the start of the tournament.

In Liverpool’s case, this would require Salah to join his international colleagues after the Boxing Day match against Leeds United, but Reds manager Jurgen Klopp revealed talks have been ongoing regarding the possibility of keeping the club’s African players on Merseyside for a little longer.

The Merseyside club are due to take on Leicester City on December 28, with a top-of-the-table clash with Chelsea scheduled for January 2.

How will Liverpool cope without Salah when he travels to AFCON? Have your say in the comments section

Salah could be missing for a several Liverpool games in January
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Liverpool have made a request to the Egyptian FA to delay Salah’s departure to Cameroon, while similar discussions have taken place regarding Senegal forward Sadio Mane and Guinea midfielder Naby Keita.

However, authorities from the north African country, who are among the favourites to win AFCON, have confirmed a decision is yet to be made.

“We already received the request. It is still under consideration, and no answer has been given yet,” Osama Ismail, spokesman for the Egyptian Football Association, told Ahram Online.

Egypt manager Carlos Queiroz is yet to make a decision on when Salah will join up with the squad, the publication reports.

“It’s not decided yet,” Klopp acknowledged earlier this month when discussing Salah’s potential availability beyond Boxing Day.

“I am an optimistic person, so I hope so, but it’s not written in stone and not completely in our hands,”

Egypt kick off their Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Nigeria on January 11, with Guinea and Senegal playing their opening matches one day earlier.

Sadio Mane will represent Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations
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Salah and Mane have both been regulars for Liverpool in the Premier League this season, while the pair were involved from the start as Klopp’s team beat AC Milan on Tuesday to earn a sixth successive Champions League win.

Keita also featured in Milan, with the game representing his first appearance in more than a month following a hamstring injury.

Liverpool have a minimum of four more games with their African players before welcoming Leeds to Anfield on Boxing Day, including a Carabao Cup quarter-final against Leicester City and league games against Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Salah and Mane are responsible for 20 of the Reds’ 44 Premier League goals this season, with Salah the top scorer in the competition with 13.

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