Liverpool to Decide on Mohamed Salah Olympics Place, Says Egypt's Shawky Gharib

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2020

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield on February 01, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Mohamed Salah will only be involved in the Egypt squad for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics if he, Liverpool and Reds manager Jurgen Klopp give the green light, according to Pharaohs coach Shawky Gharib. 

The Olympic tournament rules state that squads must be made up of players under 23, but three over-age players are allowed to be involved.

Gharib recently confirmed that Salah, 27, would be one of Egypt's over-age picks:

The men's football tournament in Tokyo, though, is scheduled to kick off on July 23 and finish on August 8, the same day the 2020-21 Premier League season starts.

As a result, if Salah is included in Egypt's squad, he will likely miss Liverpool's pre-season and the opening games of next term.

Gharib has now said the final decision is out of his hands, and Liverpool will have to give permission to allow Salah to help Egypt win a medal at Tokyo 2020, per Reuters (h/t ESPN FC):

"Salah's participation with the Pharaohs team in Tokyo is a decision to be taken only by Salah, his club Liverpool and his coach Jurgen Klopp. We cannot force Salah to participate with us because FIFA regulations do not compel him to participate."

He added that, while Salah has been included in a group of 50 players that will eventually be whittled down to 18, the final squad does not have to be submitted until June, so "it is too early to talk."

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But Gharib and the Egypt hierarchy will surely already be working on persuading Salah to take part in the Olympics given his involvement could be the difference between winning a medal and not.

Since joining Liverpool from Roma in 2017, he has propelled himself into the top tier of world footballers with consistently brilliant performances.

His return of 32 Premier League goals in 2017-18 saw him set a new benchmark:

He was superb again last term as Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League, and he is the club's top scorer with 14 goals so far in 2019-20 as the Reds have established an all but unassailable lead in the Premier League:

At international level, though, Salah has yet to win any major silverware.

Egypt were well fancied for last summer's Africa Cup of Nations but were knocked out by South Africa in the last 16.

The Olympics could be an excellent chance for Salah to taste international success, which may convince him to take part, even if it means missing the start of the club season.  

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