Jürgen Klopp described Mohamed Salah as the "most loyal Egyptian I've ever met" as he dismissed questions over the winger's commitment to his national team.
Liverpool's top scorer has returned to Merseyside for treatment following the injury he suffered during the second round of group stage fixtures at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Salah pulled up with an issue in Egypt's draw with Ghana and had to be substituted, with it later revealed that he could miss up to 28 days with a hamstring tear.
The Egyptian FA agreed to send their captain back to Liverpool to undergo treatment in order to give him the best possible chance of making a recovery in time for the final on 11 February – should the Pharaohs make it that far.
However, the decision to leave the Ivory Coast where the tournament is being held has not gone down well with some. Egypt legend Ahmed Hassan – somewhat bizarrely – called out Salah for 'plotting to leave' AFCON.
The 184-cap midfielder said: “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.”
There has also been a minor controversy around the announcement of Salah's departure from AFCON, with Egypt's national team doctor claiming Liverpool boss Klopp jumped the gun in telling the press that the winger would return to Liverpool.
Asked about the 'talking point' of Salah's situation by beIN SPORTS after Wednesday night's Carabao Cup semi final win over Fulham, Klopp shut down talk of conflict between Liverpool and Egypt, while defending his No. 11's commitment.
“I cannot be part of that discussion,” Klopp told reporter Ibrahim Khadra.
“Egypt and Liverpool have exactly the same interest: we want Mo Salah, as quick as possible, fit.
“If he is fit… if he stays there and they can’t do the proper treatment, that will just delay everything; especially for Egypt if they go through the tournament. So we bring him here, not because we want to take him away from Egypt, but to offer the best medical treatment. It’s all we want.
“It’s all agreed. If Egypt goes to the final and Mo is fit, it’s always clear, he goes back. 100%. Mo wants that, we want that, we don’t plan with Mo and think we can do a little bit here or there. We’re completely honest.
“If I said something too early… what I said (I didn’t announce it) was ‘I think it’s agreed’. I have so many things to do and so many things going on around me, and sometimes it’s like… ‘oh right, it’s not agreed, I think it’s a plan – that’s what I heard’.
“The rest is whatever some people make of it. If somebody questions the loyalty of Mo Salah, he should ask himself if his loyalty is right because Mo Salah is the most loyal Egyptian I’ve definitely ever met in my life.”
Prior to the win over Fulham, Klopp's assistant Pep Lijnders hailed the co-operation between the Egyptian FA and Liverpool in working together to dio what was best for Salah.
He told reporters: "What I'm really happy about is that the medical team of Egypt and Liverpool really worked together in close contact and both made this decision together.
"It's an example of how international football with club football should co-operate to put the player in the centre.
"We, all of us, made the decision of what's best for him."https://xxx.co.uk/J