“Twice! TWICE! TWIIIIIICE!!”
Jokes! Japes! Fun! It is good times for Liverpool Football Club, sitting top of the Premier League table, eight points off second place, and nine ahead of reigning champions Manchester City, with about a third of the season gone. The Reds have displayed remarkable consistency over the past year and a half, losing only a single game from their last 51, and their ability to pull out a win from the most improbable circumstance is unparalleled in the game at the moment.
That consistency is, among other things, largely down to the club’s stars staying healthy and able to feature on a weekly basis. Alisson Becker’s early and Joël Matip’s recent absence notwithstanding, Jürgen Klopp has been able to call on his favoured line-up in nearly every fixture it’s been needed this season, and while it is tough to see an immediate future in which the Reds suddenly start racking up losses, that assumption is contingent on key players remaining available.
Mohamed Salah’s persistent ankle niggle — having seemingly bothered the player on and off since a shocking challenge from Hamza Choudhury back in early October — rearing its head again on Sunday was cause for concern then, as was the Egyptian’s presumed participation in his country’s fixtures during the upcoming international break. Salah traveled to join the Egypt squad on Sunday, and despite carrying a clear limp against City, it was expected he would feature against both Kenya and the Comoros this week.
Now, it appears the injury is serious enough that Salah will not be on the pitch for his country during either match, and will remain with the squad only for purposes of solidarity. On first glance, this would seem a case of good fortune for the Reds, as their star striker will have nearly two weeks of complete recovery — a rarity for a top footballer these days — but according to the Echo, there are also doubts about the 27-year old’s ability to participate when Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace after the international break.
Whatever Salah’s availability against the Eagles, one hopes this will be an opportunity for the striker to put his ankle trouble behind him for good, and that the club won’t rush him back into action ahead of the preposterously busy winter schedule.