Legendary former Egypt star Ahmed Hassan has claimed Mohamed Salah should remain in Ivory Coast with the national team, regardless of the severity of his injury.
Salah was due to fly back to England after Egypt's final group stage game of the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday, in order to receive treatment on the injury he sustained last week.
The Liverpool winger had to be substituted before half-time of the Pharaohs draw with Ghana, with it later announced he had sustained a hamstring issue. Early indications suggested the injury was a relatively minor one, with Salah predicted to be able to return in the latter knockout stages of the tournament, depending on Egypt's progression.
However, on Monday, Salah's agent Ramy Abbas posted an update on his client's condition, revealing Salah could actually miss up to a month as he recovers, putting his participation in the rest of AFCON in serious jeopardy.
He wrote on X: "Mohamed's injury is more serious than first thought and he will be out for 21-28 days and not two games.
"His best chance and participation in the current AFCON is by undergoing intensive rehabilitation in the UK and rejoining the team as he is fit."
With the AFCON final scheduled for 11 February, Abbas' timeline makes it unlikely that Salah would be able to rejoin his teammates for the final, even if they were to make it that far.
Meanwhile, the decision for Salah to return to Merseyside to work with Liverpool's medical team has been criticised by some, including Egypt’s record caps holder Ahmed Hassan.
The four-time AFCON winner even accused the Reds' No. 11 of 'plotting to leave'.
He is quoted as saying (via the Daily Mail): “I’ve always backed Salah and I was very happy with his presence as captain.
“I had no problems with what he said, but it turned out that he was plotting his departure from the Egypt camp. Do the AFCON regulations allow a player to leave the national team’s camp and come back again?
“He had the possibility of bringing in someone from Liverpool’s medical staff to be with him during the competition. Again, he is the captain. He should stay with the team no matter what, even if he only had one leg to stand on.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool released a statement on Monday night, outlining the club's plans for Salah once he returns to Merseyside.
It reads: "Mohamed Salah will return to the AXA Training Centre on Wednesday to begin an intensive rehabilitation programme with Liverpool’s medical team on the muscle injury he sustained with Egypt last week.
"The injury, which is worse than first feared, forced the forward from the field in the first half of the Africa Cup of Nations fixture with Ghana and an agreement has been reached with the Egyptian FA for Salah to undergo treatment in Liverpool.
"Salah will immediately begin work with the club’s medical staff upon his return to Merseyside with a view to being back in action as soon as possible for club and country, giving him the best chance to return to compete at AFCON if Egypt, who qualified for the knockout stage with a 2-2 draw against Cape Verde tonight, continue to advance in the tournament."
If Abbas' projections for Salah's return are correct, the first Liverpool game is likely to be available for again is either the of the Reds' Premier League games against Burnley (10 February) or Brentford (17 February) – though the former would not be possible if Egypt make the AFCON final.