Mohamed Salah has just given clear indication of Liverpool future after massive Saudi Arabia bid

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool and Egypt
-Credit: (Image: Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Having just turned 32, there was likely a degree of pragmatism from Mohamed Salah about the prospect of representing Egypt at the Olympics

The Liverpool star was wanted by his national side to travel to the Paris Games as one of the Pharaohs' three players aged over 23, with men's team coach Rugero Micali admitting last month that he was hopeful of getting Salah on board.

"We have 10 names under consideration, and we will choose three players from them," Micali said. "We have some shortcomings that need to be taken into account in the final selection. Negotiations with foreign clubs are lengthy to allow their players to join us at the Olympics, and we hope that those selected will get approval from their clubs.

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"We are still awaiting the outcome of communication with Salah and his club Liverpool through the Egyptian Football Association. We definitely want him with us. I wish Salah could play with us at the Olympics.

"As I said earlier, it is always good for a player to be involved, we do not interfere in players' clubs about whether or not they are in the squad, our job is to determine who can help us, and obviously if many of them do not play, they may arrive at matches without fitness, and this is not good."

The Egypt FA, though, chose not to directly engage in dialogue with Liverpool over the issues, perhaps accepting there was little chance of prising their captain out of the clutches of a new era taking its first tentative steps forward under head coach Arne Slot.

The decision for Salah to remain with his club for the entirety of pre-season as a result is an early win for Slot, who will now have one of his biggest stars with him in the United States and for the duration of the summer schedule.

For a club also looking to lean heavily into as much star power as possible Stateside, given how lucrative these summer tours can be, the addition of Salah is also a major boost, particularly at a time when several other high-profile squad members are enjoying their end-of-season breaks after international duty.

Salah was consulted over the decision, it is understood, and he was more than happy to forgo the chance to compete for a gold medal out in France, even if the relentless competitor inside of him might have liked the opportunity to add to his personal haul.

Instead, he took a more measured, long-term view to proceedings, feeling it would be better to stay in the care of his club rather than fly out for a tournament that begins later this month and only ends a week before the new Premier League season gets underway with a trip to Ipswich Town on August 17.

That decision now means the Egypt star will report to the AXA Training Centre this weekend to begin the often taxing work to get season-ready. His dedication and professionalism will also have a positive effect for some of his younger, less experienced colleagues that he will be sharing pitches with in the coming days and weeks.

But extolling the virtues of Salah is only part of the thinking behind the decision to stay put. Few will need reminding of the injury nightmare the Reds' top scorer endured when he flew out to the Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

Salah picked up what was later revealed to be a hamstring injury in Egypt's 2-2 draw with Ghana in mid-January, with then assistant boss Pep Lijnders describing it as "a proper tear".

As a result, the No.11 was dispatched back to Merseyside to continue his rehabilitation under the watchful eye of club staff under the uneasy agreement that he be sent back to the tournament should Egypt still be there once fit.

As it turned out, such a situation never came to pass but the problem had a knock-on effect for the Reds star, who never really looked as sharp as he had done prior to that rare injury.

Salah played 27 of his 44 appearances prior to that problem and scored 18 of his 25 goals before he flew out to Africa. He then went over two months without starting a Liverpool game as a result.

Clearly, the need to limit the scope for further disruption is key for a player who is now inside the final 12 months of his own terms on Merseyside. A repeat of such a setback this time around risks starting his eighth season with the Reds on the wrong foot.

It could also lead to a situation where the months are dwindling on the contract at a time when the player's age and recent fitness record are bigger factors in the thinking of what to do about an extension on the most lucrative terms ever signed at Liverpool, especially after a £150m offer from Saudi last summer.

The chance to part-take in Olympic Games is a rarity for any athlete and will always be viewed as a privilege but AFCON and the World Cup are what really drive the man affectionately referred to as the 'Egyptian King' on the international front.

As a result, the decision has been taken not only in the best interests of the club but the player himself. Expect Salah to come flying out the blocks as a result.