The 2022 Africa Cup of Nations continues as the latest round of Premier League fixtures gets underway this weekend and several players will be unavailable for their clubs.
Amongst the most prominent absentees will be Liverpool’s top scorer Mo Salah who will be leading the line for Egypt against Guinea-Bissau on Saturday, the day before Jurgen Klopp’s side face Brentford at Anfield.
The Reds were held to a 0-0 draw in Thursday’s EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal, who were reduced to ten men following Granit Xhaka’s first half sending off, with the absence of both Salah and Sadio Mane felt in that match.
That result has left many Liverpool fan’s asking the question, when will Mo Salah return?
Here is what you need to know about the remaining length of the Africa Cup of Nations and when the striker could be back playing in the Premier League.
When is Mo Salah back for Liverpool?
Mo Salah will return to Liverpool once the African Cup of Nations is concluded or Egypt are eliminated.
That could be sooner rather than later after the Egyptians lost their opening match of the tournament 1-0 to Nigeria.
They will now face Guinea-Bissau on Saturday, January 15 and a defeat in that match would see them eliminated from the competition at the group stage.
That means that internationally duty would end for the African players after their final group match against Sudan on Wednesday, January 19 and Salah could return to Liverpool in time for their trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday, January 23.
However, Egypt are heavy favourites to beat Guinea-Bissau and will likely also be favourite to win their match with Sudan which would see them safely though to the knockout stages of the competition.
Should Egypt make it all the way to the final, Salah will have missed five matches for Liverpool in total, including two Premier League fixtures.
If his side are eliminated on or before the quarter-finals then it is likely that Liverpool would have Salah available for the FA Cup tie with Cardiff City on February 6.
That match takes place the same day as the final and third place play-off of the AFCON and, although Salah would technically be free if Egypt are eliminated in the semi-finals, it isn’t clear whether Jurgen Klopp would want to risk putting him straight back into the squad so soon.
How long doe the Africa Cup of Nations last?
The Africa Cup of Nations is due to conclude with the final on February 6, 2022.
The final group stage match is between Mali and Mauritania and that will be played on Thursday, January 20.
After that the competition progresses to the knock out stages.
Here are the dates for the remaining rounds of the 2022 AFCON:
- Round of 16 - January 23 to January 26
- Quarter-Finals - January 29 and January 30
- Semi-Finals - February 2 and February 3
- Third Place Play-Off - February 6
- Final - February 6
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.