Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah could be in contention to face Leicester on Thursday only four days after losing the AFCON final with Egypt, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.
Salah’s Egypt were beaten in a penalty shootout – in which the captain did not take a spot-kick – by Senegal in Sunday’s showpiece final in Cameroon.
Sadio Mane, who scored the winning penalty, joined celebrations in the Senegalese capital Dakar on Monday, and will not return to England in time to play in Thursday’s game, Klopp added.
Klopp told LiverpoolFC.com: “Mo is now back, I spoke already to him. He is very disappointed of course, but looking forward to all the things coming up here now. I spoke to him and pretty much the first thing Mo told me was: ‘I’m ready.’ Haha!
“He is an experienced player, he is a physical monster, to be honest, so we have to see. He will obviously have a little recovery session today and we will see how he feels tomorrow and from there we go.
“Sadio flies out if it’s possible on Wednesday night, so will arrive here on Thursday but he is, of course, then not involved in the Leicester game.
“It means the world to him, it means the world to his people, it means the world to Senegal and we respect that a lot and we would never consider to have called back him from there or whatever – let them do what they do in the moment because they deserve it.
“They’ve had an incredibly intense time, so when he is back we will talk to him and we will see how we can use him.”
Mane: AFCON win best of my life
Mane, who was named player of the tournament at the end of Senegal’s AFCON triumph, described winning the trophy with his country as “the best day of his life”.
The 29-year-old put an early penalty miss behind him to score the winning spot-kick as Senegal sealed victory in Bafoussam on Sunday.
“It’s the best day of my life and the best trophy of my life,” the Liverpool forward said.
“I won the Champions League and some [other] trophies but this is the special one for me. This is more important for me.
“I am happy for myself, my people and all of my family.”
Speaking about his early spot-kick miss, he added: “When I missed the first penalty, it was a big blow for me. But my team-mates came to me and said: ‘Sadio, we lose together and we win together. We know you. You have done too much for us, keep on going.’
“That made me stronger and I think it made the difference when I got the second one. All the boys came to me and said ‘Sadio, we trust you’ and that gave me more motivation. The trophy belongs to the whole Senegal team, everyone deserves it.”