Liverpool are at risk of being without Mohamed Salah for the start of the 2020/21 Premier League season.
His national side, Egypt, have secured their spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which will run from July 22 to August 8 next year. Those dates would leave him likely to miss all of pre-season and their start to the top flight campaign.
A young side reached the final of the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations on home soil, which has earned them a spot at the games. But they will have the chance to bring in three players over the age of 23 to supplement their squad, with Salah an obvious contender if he can be convinced to play.
After missing out on glory at the African Cup of Nations last summer, Salah could be tempted to try and achieve international success. But his previous run-ins with the Egyptian FA, coupled with his commitment to the Reds, could prevent him featuring in the tournament.
Egypt Under-23 coach Shawky Gharib hinted he would be keen to include Salah if he has the chance as he discussed the Tokyo 2020 tournament after sealing qualification.
He said: “As an Egyptian, I’m so proud of what he [Salah] is doing with Liverpool , he is an amazing player and makes the whole nation proud. “But it is too early to talking about whether I will pick him to be with us in Tokyo 2020. I will think about the players that my team will need and then I will announce.”
Former Stoke striker Ramdan Sobhi, who featured in the Under-23s side, also confirmed Salah had been in touch to congratulate the team on their achievement.
“Salah called me by phone yesterday and congratulated us on the qualification for which I thank him very much,” Sobhi said. “I also think it’s so early to talk about the players who will join us in Tokyo, we have 21 fighters in our squad [at the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations] and they have done amazing job in the tournament.
“Everyone should give them the credit then we can talk about who will join us there.”
Reports By Rich Jones / Mirror