Liverpool have refused to release Mohamed Salah for international duty next week due to the quarantine restrictions the striker would face on his return to the UK.
Liverpool, along with other members of the European Club Association, have been seeking exemptions from the mandatory quarantine rules for players returning from red list countries. With no agreement between the Premier League and government, however, and Salah facing a 10-day isolation period after playing in Egypt, Liverpool have informed the Egyptian FA the 29-year-old will not be released for their World Cup qualifier against Angola in Cairo.
The club have no objections to Salah playing Egypt’s second World Cup qualifier in Gabon on 5 September as Gabon is on the UK’s amber list and no quarantine rules would apply.
Liverpool’s Brazilian trio of Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho are in a similar predicament with Brazil on the UK’s red list. Jürgen Klopp is already unhappy at Fifa’s decision to allow South American teams to have three qualifiers during the international break, meaning Brazil play Peru on the Thursday before Liverpool visit Leeds on Sunday 12 September.
The club are also expected to block their release unless exemptions are introduced.
Salah, Alisson, Firmino and Fabinho would miss the Leeds game, Liverpool’s first Champions League group fixture and Crystal Palace’s visit to Anfield on 18 September were they forced to isolate for 10 days on their return.
Fifa had allowed clubs to withhold players from international duty if they faced an isolation period of at least five days. But that temporary rule has now been scrapped.
Premier League and Football Association officials have been in talks with the Department of Media, Culture and Sport over the quarantine restrictions, which have affected many sports and threatens to disrupt several rounds of international fixtures.
The Egypt FA said: “The Egyptian Football Association has received a letter from Liverpool FC apologising for the inability of its player, Mohamed Salah, to join the national team in its next camp, which includes facing Angola in Cairo and Gabon in Franceville during the first and second rounds of the African continent’s qualifiers for the World Cup.
“The English club’s letter referred to the precautionary measures applied in England to confront the outbreak of the coronavirus in the world, which puts returnees from some countries in compulsory health isolation for a period of 10 days upon their return to England. In this letter, the English club also expressed its hope that the Egyptian Federation would understand that it was forced to do so, in the face of the player being subjected to a quarantine for this period and being affected by this physically, as well as the uncertainty of the conditions determined by the English authorities. It is reported that Liverpool FC took the same position with a number of its foreign players.”
Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Leeds and Tottenham could also be affected by the quarantine rules that apply to people returning from Brazil.
Xherdan Shaqiri has completed his move to Lyon for £9.5m. The Swiss international played 63 times for Liverpool following his £13.75m move from Stoke in 2018.