Mohamed Salah is doing all he can to be fit for the World Cup but it appears the Liverpool and Egypt star is running out of time.
[ MORE: Salah steps up recovery ]
Salah, 25, arrived in Valencia, Spain on Tuesday as he continues to rehabilitate the left shoulder he injured in Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final in Kiev last Saturday.
After previously stating he is hopeful he can still play for Egypt in the World Cup, it appears that Salah may not play a part in their opening two games of the tournament on June 15 and June 19.
Liverpool’s physiotherapist Ruben Pons has been speaking to Spanish outlet Marca about Salah’s recovery from damaging ligaments in his shoulder.
“We knew that it was something serious as soon as [Salah] fell on the ground because he never complains, we were afraid of the worst,” Pons said. “We were in the field until the break, I was devastated, I tried to transmit calmness, I told him that nothing could be done and that he did not worry too much, it was time to look for solutions and not to regret because things did not work.
“We were watching the game, we were looking at social networks and the security was telling us the result, Madrid has scored, we equalised. When we came back, the game was over, the whole team had changed and prepared for riding the team bus, we helped him change because he could not do it alone and we went to the airport.
“Once we knew the injury we planned the treatment, he is sad about what happened but he is totally focused on recovery and seeing when he can be ready. He is going to mark the recovery times, in principle it will be from three to four weeks but we are going to try to reduce those deadlines, that’s the big goal.”
So, three weeks out from the date of his initial injury means that Salah would miss Egypt’s opening game against Uruguay on June 15 and then be touch-and-go for their second Group A game against hosts Russia on June 19.
The fact that Egypt are in Group A is unfortunate as their games are up first and that gives Salah less time to recover from the injury. Yet, there does seem to be a very real chance that he can at least play in one of their games at the World Cup, with their final Group A game coming on June 23 against Saudi Arabia.
There’s no doubt that Egypt will take Salah in their squad and he will be at their first World Cup since 1990. It just remains a question of whether or not he will play but Liverpool appear to understand just how important it is for the forward and it seems like they will let him risk his long-term fitness to try and play in the World Cup.
If Salah had dislocated his shoulder then the timeline for his return would have been months rather than weeks.
The main thing to take away from this interview with Liverpool’s physio is that Salah has a chance to play in Russia.
That’s a lot better than it was looking last Saturday when he left the Champions League final in tears after that challenge from Sergio Ramos.