Egypt Under-23s manager Shawky Gharib has included Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah in his squad for this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Gharib has long been keen to include Salah as one of his three over-23 players for the tournament, which is set to run during Liverpool's pre-season and may even overlap into the start of the new Premier League season.
"The only senior player who has been chosen is Mohamed Salah, he’s one of the best three players in the world," Gharib said. "The remaining choices will depend on the team’s need. Let’s wait until the tournament draw and see who will join the likes of France, Argentina and Germany."
While the idea of losing Salah at such an important point in the season might be a little scary for Liverpool, there isn't really too much to worry about. FIFA do not recognise the Olympics as an official tournament, instead categorising it as an Under-23 event, and because of that, clubs are not required to release their players.
If Liverpool do not want to release Salah for the tournament, they do not have to. It's as simple as that. The final decision will rest with them, and Gharib will obviously know that, but it appears as though the Egypt boss isn't prepared to back down just yet.
Gharib will likely need Salah to request to leave Liverpool to take part this summer, and he appeared to try and lure him in with the prospect of getting revenge over Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos, who is understood to be interested in playing for Spain.
"I read a statement by Sergio Ramos saying that the Olympics is the only tournament he never got to participate in," he continued. "So maybe we’ll see Ramos with them, just as Neymar joined Brazil in 2016."
It's hard to see Liverpool giving in at all. There have been complaints all season about Jurgen Klopp's forward line looking a little tired and suffering from the lack of pre-season, so to see them give up the chance to give Salah the rest he has needed for about 18 months now would come as an enormous surprise.
Source : 90min