Pep Lijnders defends Mohamed Salah amid criticism over AFCON treatment decision

Pep Lijnders defends Mohamed Salah amid criticism over AFCON treatment decision

Liverpool's Pep Lijnders said Mohamed Salah's commitment should never be doubted after his imminent return from the 2023 AFCON for injury treatment.

The Egypt captain will fly back from the Ivory Coast on Wednesday so the club's medical staff can take care of his hamstring injury rehabilitation, with the hope he could rejoin the national team should they reach the latter stages of the tournament.

That move has drawn criticism from Egypt's record caps-holder Ahmed Hassan, who said Salah should have stayed with the team "even if he only had one leg to stand on", but Lijnders has sprung to the 31-year-old's defence.

"The one you should never doubt the commitment of is Mo Salah," he said.

"I never met a guy, a player but also a human being, who is more committed to the life of being a professional football player.

"I know the country is devastated to lose him. We were devastated to hear he got injured.

"He played the first game, scores, assists, (he's) captain and massively important, of course, but the only reason our medical team and their medical team decided for him to come back is to give the best possible chance to be available if Egypt make the final.

"What I'm really happy about is the medical team of Egypt and Liverpool Football Club worked together, were really in close contact and they made this decision together.

"It is an example of how international football and club football should co-operate to put the player in the centre and not the targets of everyone because it is a conflict of interest.

"All of us made the decision which is best for him and for him the best is having a stable environment, knowing the people and having people who are committed and have the time to focus on his rehab process and we know how it will go here in this facility."

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