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Salah could miss Liverpool’s pre-season as Egypt want him to play in 2020 Olympics

The African nation’s Under-23 head coach Shawky Gharib has revealed that they do plan on calling up the Reds forward for the tournament in the summer

Egypt Under-23 head coach Shawky Gharib has revealed that they plan to select Liverpool star Mohamed Salah for the Olympic Games in 2020.

The tournament takes place in Tokyo in July and August later this year, with Egypt one of 14 national teams that will be taking part.

As part of FIFA’s rules for the competition, teams are permitted to select three players over the age of 23, with the rest of the squad made up of players born on or after January 1, 1997.

The likes of Neymar, Serge Gnabry and Manchester United‘s January signing Bruno Fernandes all played in the tournament in 2016 – with Brazil claiming the gold medal after beating Germany on penalties in the final.

Salah has had little rest since the start of the 2017-18 season, with the Liverpool forward having played at the World Cup in the summer of 2018 as well as the Africa Cup of Nations a year later.

That’s in addition to his club commitments which have seen the Reds contesting the Super Cup and Club World Cup over the past 12 months, in addition to their domestic exertions and Champions League involvement.

Jurgen Klopp afforded his players a week off during the winter break, with the club’s Under-23 side facing Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup fourth-round replay on February 4.

But Salah’s season could well be extended come the summer, with Gharib revealing how the 27-year-old is one of the over-23 players Egypt plan to call up for the Olympics.

“Out of the three senior players we’ll call up, Salah is the only one we’re settled on so far because he’s simply one of the top three players in the world,” Gharib told ON Sport.

“I haven’t talked to Salah at all about him joining the Under-23 squad for the Olympics, but in all honesty, his participation in the Olympics will need a little effort from him (regarding discussions with Liverpool) as well.”

Should he link up with his national team in the summer, Salah would miss the Reds’ pre-season and could well be unavailable for the start of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign, which gets underway on August 8.

Klopp has previously been vocal over his concerns about player welfare and fixture scheduling, stating that it was a “catastrophe for Liverpool” after it was confirmed that the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will take place in January and February next year.

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