'Fighter' Salah may be fit for World Cup

 Mohamed Salah of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool FC at the NSC Olimpiyskiy stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26, 2018.
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool FC at the NSC Olimpiyskiy stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

He says he'll be in Russia following reports of only a shoulder strain in Champs League final

LONDON • Mohamed Salah is "confident" of being fit for the World Cup despite suffering a shoulder injury in Liverpool's Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid on Saturday.

The Egyptian forward was forced off in tears during the first half of the 3-1 loss, sparking fears that he will not make it to Russia, with his country's Group A opener against Uruguay a little more than two weeks away on June 15.

The 25-year-old suffered the injury when he was dragged to the turf following a challenge with Sergio Ramos, leading some to claim the Real defender had deliberately tried to injure Salah.

Speaking after the final, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had described the injury as "very serious" amid initial fears Salah had suffered a dislocated shoulder.

That would have ruled him out of Egypt's first appearance at the World Cup since 1990 and Salah was pictured with his shoulder in a sling when he got off the plane in Liverpool on Sunday.

But it now appears there is a good chance he will be able to join his international team-mates for the showpiece tournament.

"It was a very tough night, but I'm a fighter. Despite the odds, I'm confident that I'll be in Russia to make you all proud," Salah tweeted on Sunday. "Your love and support will give me the strength I need."

Fresh reports in Egypt have also claimed Salah suffered only a shoulder-ligament strain and is expected to be back in action in three weeks.

In an incredible first season with the Premier League club following his transfer from Roma last year, Salah broke a host of records as he scored 44 goals in all competitions.

He was voted Liverpool's Player of the Year and also scooped the Professional Footballers' Association and Football Writers' Player of the Year awards.

Salah had also scored the goal that took Egypt to the World Cup when he netted a late penalty in a qualifier against Congo in October.

The North African nation will most likely have to play their upcoming final friendlies ahead of the World Cup - against Belgium and Colombia on June 1 and June 6 respectively - without Salah.

Meanwhile, Simon Mignolet has backed fellow Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius to bounce back from his nightmare in Kiev.

The German conceded two goals after making schoolboy errors, and he has since been subjected to death threats and vile abuse on social media. Liverpool police have confirmed they are looking into the hate messages.

Mignolet empathises with Karius, having made his fair share of mistakes during his Reds career.

"I know how it is. Every goalkeeper can relate to him. He's only young. I'm sure he will bounce back," the Belgian said.

However, Karius might not be given the opportunity to restore Klopp's faith in him.

According to The Guardian, Liverpool are already eyeing a summer move for Roma goalkeeper Alisson to replace Karius.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2018, with the headline ''Fighter' Salah may be fit for World Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe