Liverpool have been handed a massive boost in their pursuit of the first Premier League title in their history after the Egyptian national team omitted Mohamed Salah from their 25-man squad to face Niger and Nigeria in March.
At the start of February, vice president of the Egyptian FA, Ahmed Shobier, claimed: “Mohamed Salah will not play the Niger game in the AFCON qualifiers or the Nigeria friendly.”
“Ahmed Hegazi will probably also be left out of the squad."
And this has become reality upon the release of Egypt's squad for their upcoming AFCON clash and friendly, as reported by KingFut. With qualification already secured for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, and then cemented by their claiming of the hosting rights earlier this year following its stripping from Cameroon, the Pharoahs can afford to leave some talent behind.
And these specific players have been permitted to miss the fixtures due to the importance of their respective league campaigns at this time.
While Hegazi is chasing promotion to the Premier League with West Brom - who currently sit in fourth place, four points back from the automatic promotion spots - Salah is hoping to win the first division outright with the Reds.
Jurgen Klopp's side need Salah more than ever, in the midst of their first real stutter in this title race. Though they still sit at the top of the standings, their buffer to Manchester City is now just one point, with the Citizens looking particularly imperious in recent times.
He may have struggled somewhat against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, and recorded just one goal in his last four Premier League games, but he will be vital for the team as they head into the business end of the season, and this is undoubtedly a big boost.