Klopp reluctant to lose Salah to Olympics as Liverpool star is lined up by Egypt
Jurgen Klopp is reluctant to sanction Olympic duty for Mohamed Salah, but says Liverpool are yet to be put in a position by Egypt where a difficult decision has to be made.
It has been suggested that a talismanic presence at Anfield will be asked to fill a similar role for his country in Tokyo this summer.
Egypt’s U23 coach Shawky Gharib has stated his desire to have “one of the top three players in the world” at his disposal when piecing together a bid for gold medal glory.
Liverpool, though, are eager to avoid seeing their pre-season plans ahead of the 2020-21 campaign disrupted by the absence of a key man.
Were Salah to head off to Asia for more competitive football, then he would need to be eased back into the fold once he returned to Merseyside.
Klopp is hoping that such a situation can be avoided, telling reporters: “Do I want to lose a player in the pre-season? No. Of course not. But we have to consider different things. I will speak with Mo and all that stuff.
“We are completely clear about what we want, but we need more information – how will it look, when will the preparation start, all that stuff, and nobody has really contacted us so far, it’s just in the media.”
The Reds boss added: “We have had to play already without Mo but not too often, thank God, but from time to time we have to.
“It’s not about that. All the positive things I could say about Mo I have said in the past.
“But come on, it’s the Olympic Games, I’m still a sports person, the Olympics is the Olympics, but we have to see.
“We will have to see how we deal with it. We can’t really discuss it really because we don’t know anything about it, or not a lot about it.”
While Egypt may seek to force the issue when it comes to Salah’s involvement in their plans, Liverpool are expected to stand firm.
Former Reds star Jason McAteer says it would be a surprise to see international duty sanctioned, with the current Premier League leaders having made it clear how important rest periods are for senior stars competing on multiple fronts at club level.
“Klopp’s job, first and foremost, is to protect his players at all costs and he will want all his players back for the whole of pre-season,” McAteer told the Racing Post.
“And given that he has complained, rightly, about the demands of the fixture schedule then he will do everything to make sure Mo Salah is with Liverpool in the summer.
“Klopp isn’t the only one who will want him there. Salah is a marketing dream and the club’s owners will definitely want him to fly the flag for the brand on any pre-season tours.
“Yet I still sense that there’s going to be a difficult conversation to be had between Klopp and Salah over whether the Egyptian goes to this summer’s Olympics.
“We don’t quite get it because the Olympics to us doesn’t seem like a major tournament.
“But to other countries it’s absolutely massive and I dare say Egypt are included in that number. Of course, Mo is an absolute god out there so they would absolutely want him to be in Tokyo on their behalf.
“It would be slightly hypocritical of Klopp to give Salah his blessing given the manager’s views on rest and playing too much football, but equally it’s not worth risking a fall-out with a player who every club in the world would want.
“It’s a sensitive subject and I sense we haven’t heard the last of it – but personally I’d be surprised if he goes to Tokyo.”