Mohamed Salah could come into contention for Liverpool’s clash with Leicester City on Thursday night, Jürgen Klopp has confirmed.
The forward returned to the AXA Training Centre to re-join the Reds on Tuesday after African Cup of Nations duty with Egypt and was set to train with his teammates.
Salah will be assessed by the club’s medical staff, but he could feature in the Premier League encounter with The Foxes if all is well.
Sadio Mane, however, will not be considered for action against Leicester after returning to Senegal to celebrate their triumph in Sunday’s AFCON final.
Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: “Mo is now back, I spoke already to him. He is very disappointed of course, but looking forward to all the things coming up here now.
“I spoke to him and pretty much the first thing Mo told me was: ‘I’m ready.’ Haha!
“He is an experienced player, he is a physical monster, to be honest, so we have to see. He will obviously have a little recovery session today and we will see how he feels tomorrow and from there we go.
“The proper plan we don’t have, play him as often and as long as possible is probably the plan, but we will not rush it. But if he is fine we will not leave him out for the wrong reasons as well, so let’s see.”
Asked specifically if Salah could be involved against Leicester, Klopp replied: “Yes, yes. Sadio no chance as he’s not even here, but Mo yes.”
The boss continued: “Sadio flies out if it’s possible on Wednesday night, so will arrive here on Thursday but he is, of course, then not involved in the Leicester game.
“It means the world to him, it means the world to his people, it means the world to Senegal and we respect that a lot and we would never consider to have called back him from there or whatever – let them do what they do in the moment because they deserve it.
“They’ve had an incredibly intense time, so when he is back we will talk to him and we will see how we can use him.”
Salah and Mane went head-to-head for their respective nations in Sunday’s AFCON final, with Senegal prevailing on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes.
“It was a strange game to watch, to be honest, from an emotional point of view,” Klopp reflected. “I obviously wish them the best, the very best, in absolutely everything [but] it was not possible in this game.
“I think both played a great tournament. The responsibility on their shoulders is absolutely [huge] and the pressure on their shoulders is absolutely insane, I don’t even have an idea how it must feel in these moments, they carry pretty much a whole country.
“So, Mo couldn’t make it but played a really good tournament and Sadio made it and yes, now I have to say really congratulations, outstanding. I saw some pictures from Senegal, what it meant to them directly after the game. Obviously it’s the first time in their proud history they could win the AFCON and [an] absolutely outstanding achievement.
“The pressure on Sadio with missing the penalty in the game and then the last one… wow! I cannot imagine how he would have felt. But you could see the joy and relief after that so he was obviously in the best possible shape.
“We have text a little bit here and there but he is still in Africa, still in Senegal, celebrating and we will see – Wednesday night or something like that we will send him out. But yes, it was obviously a big tournament and meant the world to him.”