Liverpool has been plunged into confusion after the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced forward Mohamed Salah has tested positive for coronavirus – before deleting its statement. Salah is currently on international duty with Egypt, who initially stated on Friday that their star player would have to enter self-isolation.
A now-deleted statement on the EFA website said: “The medical swab conducted on our national football team showed that our player, Mohamed Salah, the star of Liverpool, is infected with coronavirus after his test came back positive, although he does not suffer from any symptoms, while the other members of the team tested negative.
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“Our international star underwent the medical protocol after contact between the doctor of the team, Mohammed Abu Al-Ola, and his English club Liverpool, in addition to isolating him inside his room and also isolating all contacts. “Our star is subject to more checks during the coming hours.”
However, the EFA has now removed that statement and has put out a different announcement, saying three players from Egypt and their opponents on Saturday, Togo, have tested positive and will have a second test before the match.
If Salah is positive for coronavirus, it is a fresh blow for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who has already lost central defender Joe Gomez during this international break. The England international was injured during a training session and had to undergo surgery on his knee. He now faces months out.
Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, and Trent Alexander-Arnold are also long-term absentees with injury for the Premier League champions. The only silver lining for Liverpool is the case of Xherdan Shaqiri. He posted a false positive when initially being diagnosed with coronavirus while on international duty with Switzerland last month and did not have to miss any games after passing the second round of testing.
However, both Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara have previously tested positive and were forced to miss the Premier League visit to Aston Villa, which Liverpool lost 7-2 in a stunning collapse. Salah had been called up for Egypt ahead of a doubleheader against Togo in Africa Cup of Nations qualification. They play at home on Saturday before traveling to the West African nation for the return fixture on Tuesday.
The forward was recently filmed dancing at his brother’s wedding, with no social distancing or protection such as face masks. He has also trained with his Egyptian team-mates, with reports in Africa now suggesting the continental Champions League final between two Egyptian sides – Al-Ahly and Zamalek – could be at risk.
The CAF Champions League final is currently scheduled for November 27. Salah has been in superb form for Liverpool this season, scoring eight goals in as many Premier League games, and 10 strikes in 13 matches in all competitions.
The Reds will now be sweating on the fitness of their star attacker, ahead of a return to English top-flight action at home to current Premier League leaders Leicester City on November 21, followed by a home Champions League clash against Atalanta four days later.