Mohamed Salah 'did not want' to leave the Africa Cup of Nations to return to Liverpool, Egypt's national team doctor has said. However, it was a joint decision to send the forward back to Merseyside.
Salah was scheduled to fly back to England after Egypt's final group stage game on Monday, in order to receive treatment from the Reds' medical team 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 suffered a hamstring strain. 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 28 days as he recovers.
The decision to send Salah back to England with a view to a possible return to the national team camp in Ivory Coast if he recovers well has caused controversy among some, with former Egypt star Ahmed Hassan insisting the current Pharaohs captain should remain with his teammates if there's any chance he can play again.
However, Egypt's national team doctor Mohamed Abu Al-Ela has insisted it was a joint decision for Salah to fly back to Merseyside, while clearing up why there was such initial confusion about the severity of the injury.
FilGoal reports quotes from Abu Al-Ela while speaking on the On Time Sports channel: “Mohamed Salah suffers from a second-degree hamstring muscle strain. When the Football Association issued the first statement that Salah would be absent for only two matches, we had only conducted one X-ray on Salah, but after the second X-ray we found that it was larger."
He also said that it was agreed that "treatment at Liverpool would be better", while adding that Salah himself did not want to leave his teammates.
He continued: "Our agreement with Liverpool was two days ago, and the agreement was to announce the matter after the Cape Verde match, but Jurgen Klopp was the one who announced early, and Salah himself did not want to travel, and if he had wanted to, he would have left from the first day."
Abu Al-Ela refused to put a timeline on Salah's comeback, but revealed that the Liverpool No. 11 had already shown improvement in the days since suffering the knock.
He said: “When will Mohamed Salah return from his injury for treatment at Liverpool? I cannot determine that because the muscle injury depends on the extent of improvement on a daily basis. But I can say that we worked well with Salah for four days, and the player improved as well as possible."