Mohamed Salah returns second positive Covid test on Egypt duty | Football

Mohamed Salah will miss Liverpool’s game against the Premier League leaders Leicester on Sunday – and possibly two more matches for Jürgen Klopp’s side – after testing positive for Covid-19 for a second time.

The Liverpool forward and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny both returned positive tests on Wednesday, the Egyptian Football Association confirmed. The results mean Salah, who commenced a self-isolation period last Friday, will miss Leicester’s visit to Anfield and could also be absent when Liverpool play Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday and Brighton on 28 November. He cannot leave Egypt until he records a negative result. Elneny must sit out Arsenal’s visit to Leeds on Sunday and may also miss Arsenal’s Europa League game at Molde next Thursday.

“Today Mohamed Salah made a new swab to detect the Covid-19 virus, but its result was positive,” a statement on the Egyptian FA website said. “Today, Mohamed Elneny also conducted a second swab, which confirmed its positive results.”

Premier League protocols dictate players must self-isolate for 10 days following a positive test result and cannot return to training until testing negative. Salah is not expected to be tested again until Monday, the 10th day of his self-isolation.

The Egypt forward, the joint leading scorer in the Premier League this season with eight goals, first tested positive last Friday, on the eve of his country’s first Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Togo. He immediately moved into quarantine at a hotel in El Gouna and missed Egypt’s 1-0 win on Saturday and Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the same opposition.

Confirmation of the first positive test arrived four days after Salah reportedly attended his brother’s wedding in Cairo. Footage posted on social media appeared to show the 28-year-old dancing with other guests and not wearing a mask on more than one occasion. He is reported to be showing mild symptoms.

Salah has been in outstanding form this season and his absence is another setback for Klopp, who is already without three first-choice defenders for Sunday’s game. Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk have long-term knee injuries while Trent Alexander-Arnold will be out for up to a month with a calf problem. Rhys Williams, who has deputised in central defence in recent weeks, has been forced to leave England Under-21 duty with a hip problem.

Klopp would have only two recognised central defenders – Joël Matip and Nat Phillips – available against Leicester should Williams be ruled out. Captain Jordan Henderson is also undergoing treatment for a groin issue that forced his withdrawal from the England squad.

Elneny played in the first of Egypt’s qualifiers against Togo before his positive test and is said to asymptomatic. Arsenal will also be without Sead Kolasinac at Leeds after the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation confirmed the defender had tested positive for Covid-19.

Liverpool’s Champions League game at Midtjylland on 9 December, meanwhile, is likely to be staged outside Denmark because of UK coronavirus restrictions. Liverpool’s travelling party would have to self-isolate upon their return under current rules and so Uefa is considering alternative venues. Dortmund is a possible destination.


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