Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 February 2020

Mohamed Salah could miss start of Liverpool's season after he's named in Egypt's provisional Olympic squad

Coach says it's up to the player and the club whether he takes part in Tokyo tournament

Mohamed Salah will decide with Liverpool whether he takes part in the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer - and potentially miss the start of the next Premier League season.

Egyptian Olympic team coach Shawky Gharib said they could not force the player to be involved after he was named in their provisional 50-man list for the football tournament with the final on August 8 - the first day of the 2020-21 Premier League season.

"Salah is one of the top three players in the world and any team hopes to have a player of his capabilities and skills in the squad ... I have chosen Salah in an expanded list of 50 players to select 18 players heading to Tokyo," he said.

"Salah's participation with the Pharaohs team in Tokyo is a decision to be taken only by Salah, his club Liverpool and his coach Jurgen Klopp.

"We cannot force Salah to participate with us because FIFA regulations do not compel him to participate."

The Olympic tournament is for Under-23 teams but three over-age players are allowed in each squad. FIFA has acknowledged that clubs are not obliged to release over-age players for the Games.

Salah was part of the Liverpool team which won the Champions League last season and they are now runaway leaders in the Premier League with the Egyptian their top scorer on 14 goals.

In response to Salah's inclusion in the squad, the player's agent Ramy Abbas posted on Twitter that "no decision has been made yet" and Gharib said that view was correct.

"The agent's comment does not offend anyone ... what he said is the same truth," he said, noting that Klopp had not ruled out or backed his player featuring in Tokyo.

But Gharib clearly hopes a way can be found for the striker, the most successful player Egypt has produced, to perform for his country in the tournament from July 22 to August 8.

"The final list that will include 18 players will be sent next June, so it is too early to talk about the names of the 18 players."

Updated: February 13, 2020 08:22 AM

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