Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty for Egypt without showing any symptoms, the Egyptian Football Association announced Friday.
Medical swabs on the national team “showed that our international player, Mohamed Salah, Liverpool star, was infected with the coronavirus”, it said in a tweet, adding he was “not suffering from any symptoms”.
The announcement comes as Egypt prepare to tackle Togo at home on Saturday in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
The tweet said other members of the Egyptian national team tested negative.
Salah was observing medical protocols agreed in consultations between doctors in Egypt and Liverpool, a coronavirus hotspot, and self isolating in a Cairo hotel room.
The two-time African Footballer of the Year will undergo further tests in the coming hours, the federation said.
Salah has scored eight Premier League goals for Liverpool already this season.
If he is sidelined, it would be a blow for Premier League champions Liverpool, who were deprived of Senegal international forward Sadio Mane earlier in the season when he too tested positve for coronavirus, although he has since returned to the team.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has already lost defender Joe Gomez to a knee tendon injury he suffered while on England duty this week.
The club say Gomez is likely to be sidelined for months.
And the Reds are counting the cost of being deprived of key central defender Virgil van Dijk for what is expected to be most of the season after he tore knee ligaments in a clash with Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford last month.
Chelsea’s security staff identified three people in the widely shared video and denied that trio entry to Thursday’s clash in Prague.
It is understood that the remaining three people in the video did not attempt to enter Slavia’s Sinobo Stadium for Chelsea’s 1-0 quarter-final first-leg victory.
Liverpool said the video showed “vile discriminatory chants” and was “dangerous and disturbing”, while Chelsea issued a statement pledging to use all available punishments against those involved.
The incident is especially sensitive as Liverpool host Chelsea on Sunday in a match with huge implications in the Premier League title race and the battle to finish in the top four.
Asked about the latest incident of racism in football this season, Klopp made it clear the behaviour should not be tolerated.
“It’s disgusting. Another example of something which should not happen. We should not see it as a Chelsea or Liverpool thing,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“If you do something like that you should not be able to enter a stadium again, from my point of view, for life,” he added.
Four Chelsea supporters were suspended by the club for allegedly abusing Raheem Sterling during Manchester City’s defeat at Stamford Bridge on December 8.
Chelsea also criticised anti-Semitic chanting by Blues fans during the club’s 2-2 Europa League draw at Hungarian side MOL Vidi on December 13.
Klopp believes life bans from stadiums are the only appropriate punishment for anyone found guilty of racism.
“The stronger the reaction from all of us, the more it will help to avoid things like this in the future,” he said.
The German manager believes football authorities, clubs and players must unite with one voice to condemn such actions and make a stand together.
“It is a complete misunderstanding of how life should be — all parts of racism are that some people think they are more worthy or valuable than others and that’s the biggest misunderstanding in the world out there,” he said.
“Football is the best example of how people from different races can work together brilliantly.
“Go into any dressing room in the world and you see players sitting next to each other, and nobody cares where you come from or who your parents are.
“Because football is very public we talk a lot about this so I think we pretty much have a strong voice and we have to use that strong voice and say altogether things like this are not allowed to happen again.”
Mohamed Salah ended a four-match goal drought for Liverpool with a sublime strike that secured a nervous 1-0 Premier League victory away to Huddersfield on Saturday.
Salah has struggled for consistency this season and was a doubt for the trip to West Yorkshire after suffering a hamstring problem while on international duty with Egypt during the week.
But in the 24th minute, he steered in Xherdan Shaqiri’s pass to score his 50th goal in English club football, ensuring Liverpool ended Saturday level on points with league leaders Manchester City.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp could be pleased his players showed the strength of character required to see out a victory over a team coached by his long-time friend David Wagner, but there were only fleeting glimpses of the free-flowing attack that lit up the Premier League last season.
Then again, this was something of a mix-and-match Liverpool line-up.
Perhaps with Wednesday’s Champions League home match against Red Star Belgrade in mind, Klopp freshened up his front line, restricting Roberto Firmino to a late substitute appearance.
Sadio Mane was not risked after having surgery on a broken thumb during the week, so Daniel Sturridge made his first league start for Liverpool since last November, and midfielder Adam Lallana his first since New Year’s Day.
Klopp had warned this match, against opponents without a home goal since April, could be a trap, and he was right to be wary. Wagner knew just how to make life difficult for the title hopefuls, setting Huddersfield up with a back three and leaving them tight on the visitors’ front trio.
It was to Liverpool’s credit that they fashioned a goal of genuine class to break down stubborn opponents midway through the first half.
Shaqiri collected Joe Gomez’s ball from the right-back position and played an excellent pass for Salah, who timed his run perfectly and found just the right angle to slide a shot past Jonas Lossl and into the far corner.
For Salah, it was a moment of relief in what has been a testing season.
But Huddersfield, in the relegation zone and without a league win so far this season, responded well and were unlucky not to have equalised by half-time.
Jonathan Hogg struck the post with a fine 25-yard drive as Liverpool failed to clear Erik Durm’s cross, while James Milner escaped a loud penalty appeal when he diverted the ball with his thigh onto his arm.
Right at the end of the first half, Alex Pritchard thought he had ended the Terriers long wait for a home goal but was rightly ruled offside as he slotted past Alisson following a Hogg header.
Huddersfield continued to threaten after half-time, with Laurent Depoitre –- seeking to end a run of one goal in 27 matches — guiding a header from Florent Hadergjonaj’s cross, which Alisson held comfortably.
Salah remained a threat when Liverpool got the ball to him, and almost added a second goal when he collected Sturridge’s diagonal ball on his chest and steered a shot just beyond the far post.
Lallana, still getting back to the pace of Premier League football after a series of injuries, came off with just over 20 minutes left to be replaced by Fabinho, making his Premier League debut after a £39 million ($51 million, 44 million euros) move from Monaco.
The visitors still had to survive a scare after that, with Steve Mounie diverting fellow substitute Isaac Mbenza’s cross over the bar on the turn as Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren both failed to clear, but Liverpool got the job done.
Egyptian star Mohamed Salah could be in trouble with police after his club Liverpool passed a video apparently showing him using his mobile phone while driving.
A spokesman for last season’s Champions League finalists said they passed the video, which had circulated on social media, on to police after talking with Salah.
“The club, after discussion with the player, have made Merseyside Police aware of the footage and the circumstances surrounding its capture,” said the spokesman cited on the BBC.
“We have spoken to the player also and will deal with any follow-up internally.
“Neither the club or player will be making any further comment on this matter.”
Merseyside Police tweeted they had received the footage.
“We have been made aware of a video believed to show a footballer using a mobile phone whilst driving. This has been passed to the relevant department. Thanks for letting us know,” they tweeted on their official account.
Salah, who had a remarkable first season with Liverpool scoring 44 goals in all competitions and opened his account for this campaign with a goal in their opening 4-0 thrashing of West Ham on Sunday, could if found guilty of using his mobile face a fine of up to £1000 ($1300, 1100 euro) and points on his licence.
After his team crashed out of the World Cup, Egypt’s star player Mohamed Salah has won a consolation prize in the form of honorary citizenship of Chechnya.
Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov wrote on Telegram that he had presented the Liverpool star with the honorary title while hosting a dinner for the Egypt team, whose World Cup training base is in the Chechen capital Grozny.
“Mohamed Salah is an honorary citizen of Chechnya! That’s right!” Kadyrov wrote late Friday.
“Tonight I signed a decree to grant the high honour to the great footballer who plays for Egypt and Liverpool.”
Kadyrov, supported by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, rules Chechnya with an iron fist, drawing constant condemnation from human rights groups.
He is known as an ardent football fan and in 2013 took to the public address system during a match involving Chechen team Akhmat (formerly Terek) to publicly insult the referee.
Salah has been photographed smiling and clasping hands with Kadyrov during the tournament.
Egypt crashed out of the World Cup after losing to Russia 3-1 on Tuesday, with Salah returning to action for the first time in three weeks following a shoulder injury but unable to save his team. The Egyptians play their final match against Saudi Arabia on Monday.
Kadyrov said that at “a gala dinner that I gave for the Egypt team I presented Mohamed Salah with a copy of my decree and a lapel badge. This is a well-deserved honour!”
The Chechen leader has previously presented French actor Gerard Depardieu with the same honorary title.
He also said that he was confident that Akhmat would play a friendly with the Egyptian national team in Grozny at some future date.
Kadyrov said Salah had praised the “wonderfully warm and good welcome” the team received in Grozny.
Mohamed Salah is in Egypt’s starting line-up for their World Cup match against Russia on Tuesday, the African team announced on its official Twitter feed.
Liverpool wizard Salah missed his side’s 1-0 defeat by Uruguay on Friday as he struggled to recover from the shoulder injury he sustained during last month’s Champions League final.
Egypt are counting on Salah as they try to salvage their World Cup against a Russian side who know a win could seal a place in the last 16.
Salah shoulder injury
Salah’s shoulder has continued to cause him problems in Russia, and at the weekend he needed the help of three team-mates to put a shirt on during a training session in Grozny.
Egypt’s Argentine coach Hector Cuper said on Monday Salah was fit to play but will undergo a test before kick-off in Saint Petersburg.
“I hope he will be fit to play, I’m sure he will be able to play. He is a central piece in our team,” Cuper said.
If Egypt lose, it will likely end their competitive involvement in their first World Cup since 1990, so 96 million Egyptians are willing him to be on the pitch.
Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov was bullish that his team can rein in the explosive striker, who scored 44 goals in a remarkable debut season at Liverpool.
“We know how to play against him,” he said. “We are ready to stop Salah and we will.”
Russia got their World Cup off to the perfect start on Thursday with a 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia, but are under no illusions that the seven-time African champions pose a far tougher test — providing Salah plays.
“Egypt’s game with Salah is different from the one they play without him,” forward Alexei Miranchuk said.
On Monday, England made hard work of a 2-1 win over Tunisia in Volgograd, relying on an injury-time Harry Kane header to take the three points. Third-ranked Belgium waltzed past World Cup newbies Panama 3-0.
Mohamed Salah has been declared fit ahead of Egypt’s crunch game against Russia on Tuesday and coach Hector Cuper is optimistic his star striker will play.
But Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov believes the World Cup hosts have figured out a way to rein Salah in when the two sides meet in Saint Petersburg.
Salah has scored 44 goals in a sensational first season for Liverpool and is keen to make his debut after missing the Pharaohs’ 1-0 opening game loss to Uruguay with a shoulder injury.
“Salah is fit,” Cuper said on Monday. “We always carry out a last physical test before naming the line-up.
“Today we will have a test for him to see how he is. I hope he will be fit to play, I’m sure he will be able to play. He is a central piece in our team.”
Cherchesov, however, says Russia have a plan to thwart Salah, even if he is available.
“The level he will be playing at only he and his coach knows but we have a mission and we will accomplish the mission,” Cherchesov said.
“I trust in my team, I believe in my players and I will give you a simple answer: we are ready to do this and we will do this.”
The bold promise highlights a new swagger that had been missing from the host nation’s team for much of the past year.
Russia’s convincing win over the Saudis was preceded by a seven-match winless streak and a spate of injuries that wiped out almost the entire defensive line.
But the men in red are now on the cusp of making their first knockout stage of a World Cup in post-Soviet history.
The achievement would be a huge relief for both players and Russians who worried about being humiliated on the world’s biggest sporting stage.
Standing in their way could be Salah, but his availability has been a headache for Egypt ever since he injured his shoulder during a tussle with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos during the Champions League final last month.
Ramos was accused of deliberately hurting Salah and it has been suggested opponents could target him again, particularly if his shoulder is not fully healed.
“I saw only that Ramos was holding the cup,” Cherchesov said. “He did not do this on purpose, this is a contact sport, and as I understand it nobody injures people from other teams on purpose.
“Salah will get better and bring happiness to fans of Egypt. Players like him only make tournaments better.”
Russia’s veteran goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev said he would rather focus on winning than any particular opposing player.
“Would I prefer to see Salah play or not? I do not even know how to respond,” said Akinfeev. “I would prefer to see my team win.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s early success has seen the number of Russians who say they will follow football rise from 52 per cent to 64 per cent, according to one poll.
Egyptians branded him “Ramos the Dog” and now Chinese football fans have dubbed Sergio Ramos “a butcher” and “master of karate” for his roughhouse treatment of Mohamed Salah in the Champions League final.
The 32-year-old central defender and captain of Real Madrid previously had more fetching nicknames in Chinese, including a popular one that translates as “Water Lord”, a nod to his sometimes slick hair.
Ten days after Real’s Champions League victory over Liverpool, when Ramos was accused of intentionally injuring Egyptian talisman Salah, Chinese media and social media continue to debate his intervention in Kiev, reflecting the intense interest in top-level European football in the country.
One social media user derided Ramos as “head of the Madrid Martial Arts team”.
Another said: “This brother is a master of Chinese kung fu, Taekwondo, judo and karate.”
“At the World Cup a few players are going to be attacked by his venomous hands,” agreed another on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.
Ramos’s controversial clash with Salah saw the Real player drag the forward to the ground, injuring his shoulder and ending his Champions League dreams in tears.
Real went on to win the match 3-1, thanks largely to Liverpool’s blundering goalkeeper Loris Karius — who Ramos was also accused of injuring.
While he has many Chinese critics, plenty in the country are standing up for Ramos, who will captain Spain at this month’s World Cup in Russia.
“Whether as a player, defender or captain, Ramos is outstanding!” said one fan on Weibo.
Harry Kane has challenged Mohamed Salah to beat him to the Golden Boot for the Premier League’s top scorer again next season.
The Egyptian’s record 32 goals for a 38-game campaign denied Kane a third consecutive Golden Boot despite the English international’s best-ever campaign as his double in a thrilling 5-4 defeat of Leicester on Sunday took Kane onto 30 league goals.
“Mo has done great this year, he deserves it, he deserves the Golden Boot. I am looking forward to the competition again next year,” said Kane, who was pilloried on social media for claiming a goal off team-mate Christian Eriksen at Stoke last month in his quest to catch Salah.
“For me it is about doing it year after year. This is my fourth year now and the first time I have got to 30 goals in the Premier League. Now it’s about getting to 30 goals for the next two or three years, that’s the aim.
“Any player wants to do it on a consistent basis and that’s what defines a good player from a great player. He has done amazing this year and he looks like a great player, and we’ll see if we can both continue it next season.”
Kane’s goals were good enough, though, for Spurs to edge past Champions League finalists Liverpool to finish third behind Manchester City and Manchester United.
“The top six now is so strong, everyone’s really competitive, so for us to finish in the top three for the third year in a row is brilliant,” added Kane.
Liverpool goal machine Mohamed Salah was shackled by Chelsea as the Champions League finalists lost 1-0 at the weekend — the third consecutive match in which the Egyptian failed to score.
Salah has struck 31 English Premier League goals this season, four more than lone challenger Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur in the race for the Golden Boot.
But after an astonishing scoring streak in all competitions this season, which overshadowed all other African stars in Europe, Salah fired blanks against Stoke City, AS Roma and Chelsea.
MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
It is a measure of the Egyptian’s extraordinary impact upon the Premier League this season that it is now a major event when the striker does not score. He struggled in the first half of a 1-0 loss to old club Chelsea that kept the race for a top-three finish alive and was booked for diving. That he could not escape the Blues’ defence after the break was a major reason why the visitors eventually lost.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG/ALEX IWOBI (Arsenal)
Gabonese Aubameyang bagged a brace and Nigerian Iwobi one goal as Arsenal whipped Burnley 5-0 in the final home match for Gunners manager Arsene Wenger after 22 years in charge. Former African Footballer of the Year Aubameyang triggered the rout with a 14th-minute opening goal.
VICTOR WANYAMA (Tottenham Hotspur)
One of Spurs’ better players in their surprise 1-0 loss at West Bromwich Albion, the Kenyan drew a sharp save from Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster with a curling drive.
YOHAN BENALOUANE (Leicester City)
The Tunisia international, finding himself defending on the flank rather than in his more favoured central position, was given a torrid afternoon by Arthur Masuaku as West Ham beat the Foxes 2-0 to assure themselves of Premier League survival.
MUSA BARROW (Atalanta)
Gambian Barrow, 19, scored his third goal in 10 Serie A appearances this season when he opened for Atalanta in a 1-1 draw against Lazio in Rome. The point keeps Atalanta in the chase for Europa League football next season as the club from the northern city of Bergamo are just one point outside the European places.
BRYAN DABO (Fiorentina)
Burkina Faso midfielder Dabo, 26, scored his first goal for Fiorentina, which proved to be the winner in a 3-2 victory for the Tuscany side in Genoa. Dabo added the third after 80 minutes as Fiorentina keep their Europa League hopes alive.
ALFRED DUNCAN (Sassuolo)
Ghanaian midfielder Duncan, 25, proved to be the superhero for Sassuolo, closing down all Sampdoria efforts and setting up Matteo Politano’s second-half winner from a tight angle as the side from Modena held on for a 1-0 win to assure top-flight football next season.
SALIF SANE (Hanover 96)
The burly Senegal centre-back scored with a header from a free-kick on his final home appearance for Hanover in a 3-1 win against Hertha Berlin. It was a farewell gift from the 27-year-old Sane, who has signed a four-year deal to join Schalke, who have qualified for the Champions League next season, and he took the microphone to celebrate with home fans after the final whistle.
KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG (Eintracht Frankfurt)
The Ghana midfielder played his first game after a fortnight sidelined by a thigh injury and ran the midfield with a typically robust display over 90 minutes as Eintracht pushed Hamburg to the verge of relegation with a 3-0 home win.
NICOLAS PEPE/YVES BISSOUMA (Lille)
Ivorian Pepe struck twice, including the winner eight minutes from time, in a crucial 3-2 victory at relegation rivals Toulouse. The 22-year-old casually back-heeled in Lille’s opener after just five minutes and then sealed back-to-back wins on 82 minutes when he rolled in his 13th goal this term after an ill-advised sortie by Toulouse goalkeeper Alban Lafont. Mali midfielder Yves Bissouma had equalised for Lille shortly before with a thunderous 35-yard free-kick.
KEAGAN DOLLY (Montpellier)
South African Dolly scored his first goal of the season with a terrific left-foot chip soon after half-time as Montpellier won 2-0 at Nantes in a mid-table clash. He helped Mamelodi Sundowns win the 2016 CAF Champions League before moving to France.
BERTRAND TRAORE (Lyon)
Burkina Faso star Traore struck twice within seven minutes during the first half to set up Lyon for a 3-0 home win over relegation-threatened Troyes. The victory kept second-place Lyon one point above Monaco in the chase for a Champions League group place.
MOUSSA KONATE (Amiens)
The Senegalese grabbed two second-half equalisers as Amiens came from behind twice at home to draw 2-2 against champions Paris Saint-Germain. Amiens are eight points above the danger zone and assured of top-flight football next season.