Liverpool just discovered awkward consideration in Mohamed Salah contract talks

Mohamed Salah and Liverpool have discovered the dates of the next AFCON
-Credit: (Image: Ayman Aref/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Mohamed Salah is entering the final year of his Liverpool contract and his future is up in the air. Now aged 32, the Reds' superstar has showed few signs of slowing down and remains the club's most dangerous attacking threat.

There is still no shortage of interest in a player of Salah's calibre, however. Liverpool had to withstand interest from the Saudi Pro League to keep him last summer, and it's likely to need to do the same this summer.

As the season begins under Arne Slot, Salah's long-term future will become the source of an increasing amount of debate. Like Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold, his contract expires next summer but his age profile makes the decision of whether or not to keep him even more complex.

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Given the riches that will be on offer to Salah elsewhere, keeping him would likely be an expensive move for FSG and new sporting director Richard Hughes. That's not to say he would not be worth it, but an additional awkward factor to consider has now been confirmed.

The dates for the next installment of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) have been officially announced. Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe said on Friday the next tournament will be played in Morocco from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026.

“I am confident that the CAF AFCON Morocco 2025 will be extremely successful and the best AFCON in the history of this competition,” he said. The move is a new complication for Liverpool, because the tournament was originally scheduled for June and July 2025 before being moved to avoid a clash with the inaugural Club World Cup.

As a result, Liverpool will enter contract negotiations with Salah knowing it could end up being without him for one of the busiest periods of the Premier League season. It has deliberately avoided clashes with the Champions League, but could cause chaos for domestic fixtures.

Liverpool might be able to block Salah from playing for Egypt in the competition if he is still a Liverpool player. FIFA regulations say: "It is not compulsory to release the same player for more than one ‘A’ representative team final competition per year," and the World Cup would therefore likely take precedence given it takes place in the off-season.

But Salah and his involvement for Egypt has already been a sticking point for Liverpool in the past. And the fact a dispute could arise surrounding its star player and AFCON is certainly something to consider if the club is going to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds a week on a new contract.

Salah, who picked up a hamstring injury at the most recent instalment of AFCON in January, made it clear at that tournament how much he wants to win the competition before he retires.

"I would love to win it, absolutely," he said. "It will happen somehow - that is what I believe. Whatever I believe, I achieve - so sooner or later, it will happen."