Liverpool face nervous wait on gravity of Salah head knock

Newcastle United's Swiss defender Fabian Schar attends to Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah who injured himself during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Liverpool in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on May 4, 2019. (AFP / Lindsey Parnaby)
Updated 06 May 2019

Liverpool face nervous wait on gravity of Salah head knock

  • Egyptian star suffers a head knock after challenging Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka for a high ball
  • Salah will undergo further tests to assess his fitness for Barca’s visit to Anfield on Tuesday


NEWCASTLE, England: Liverpool face an anxious wait to see if Mohamed Salah will be fit to play against Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal on Tuesday after the Egyptian star suffered a head knock in a thrilling 3-2 win at Newcastle that kept their Premier League title dreams alive.

Salah was stretchered off after challenging Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka for a high ball with scores level 20 minutes from time.

“What I heard, he got the hip of the goalie on his head,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

“He was then on the ground and the doc had to make a decision ‘on the pitch or off the pitch’, and the decision was off the pitch. We accept that of course.

“When we came in he was sitting in the dressing room watching the game on television. So he was then fine, but of course we have to wait. He got a proper knock, obviously, in that situation.”

Salah, who had extended his lead in the race for the Golden Boot earlier in the game with his 22nd league goal of the season, will undergo further tests to assess his fitness for Barca’s visit to Anfield on Tuesday and the final day of the league season against Wolves on next Sunday.

Liverpool face a monumental task to overturn a 3-0 first leg deficit against the Spanish champions and will also be without Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino due to a groin injury.

However, they remain in the hunt for a first English title for 29 years as Salah’s replacement, Divock Origi, headed home a late winner at St. James’ Park to move back two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.

The title remains in City’s hands as they have two games to play to Liverpool’s one.

Salah was seen walking unaided to the team coach after the game and the Reds hope he could feature against Wolves next weekend to take advantage if City do slip up.

Despite their desperation for silverware, Liverpool will be under the spotlight for how they handle Salah’s injury after a week in which the protocols surrounding head injuries in football were questioned.

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen was allowed to briefly return to the field during his side’s 1-0 Champions League semifinal, first leg defeat to Ajax after receiving treatment to a head injury.

However, the Belgian defender lasted only a few seconds before having to be substituted as he struggled to walk unaided and retched on the side of the pitch.

Tottenham have insisted Vertonghen did not suffer concussion, but he was left out of Saturday’s defeat at Bournemouth after specialists advised a “brief period of rehabilitation.”

The incident has led for renewed calls for football to adopt a head injury assessment protocol similar to rugby where teams are permitted to make a temporary substitution while the extent of head injuries are examined.


Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

Updated 17 November 2019

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

  • World Cup semifinalists ‘still have room for improvement as they chase first major title since 1966’

PRISTINA:  Gareth Southgate is set to bring Raheem Sterling back from his brief England exile in Sunday’s qualifier against Kosovo as he seeks to end the controversy over the Manchester City star’s row with Joe Gomez.

Sterling was dropped for Thursday’s 7-0 rout of Montenegro after clashing with England team-mate Gomez in the Three Lions’ training base canteen.

It is believed Sterling was unhappy with Gomez following an altercation with the Liverpool defender during City’s Premier League defeat at Anfield last weekend.

Although Sterling was left out of the Montenegro game as punishment for his attack on Gomez, Southgate has confirmed the winger will return for England’s final Group A fixture.

Sterling and Gomez, left with a scratch under his eye after the incident, are said to have patched up their relationship, but the center-back was jeered by England fans at Wembley when he came on as a substitute against Montenegro.

Both Southgate and Sterling expressed their support for Gomez and criticized the booing supporters, with the England manager reportedly comforting the shocked 22-year-old and his family after the match.

Now Southgate could include Gomez against Kosovo in a show of support for the Liverpool player.

With England already guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2020 in first place in their group, Southgate already planned to make changes, although he is keen to ensure England finish with a win as they eye a top-six seeding in next year’s tournament.

“We will make some changes, for sure, but the seeding in the group could be critical and we know it’s a big night for the Kosovans,” Southgate said.

“It’s a shame for them that they’re now out of this part of the qualification, although they’ve still got the playoffs in which I think they’ll be a huge threat in that format. “So, it will be a good test for us because it will still be a lively environment.

“The enthusiasm for the game is high and we want to finish the group with as many points as we can.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson could return following a one-match ban, while Southgate has to decide whether to keep faith with Ben Chilwell ahead of Danny Rose at left-back.

Harry Kane may have scored a hat-trick against Montenegro but it was Leicester’s Chilwell who was named England’s man of the match following a fine display in which he provided three assists in the opening 24 minutes.

“Ben, I liked the hunger in his game, the enthusiasm to get forward,” Southgate said.

“The whole team pressed well but he also pressed well from that full-back position, got into overlaps, his quality of delivery was excellent.”

Although England have cruised through their qualifying group, Southgate believes the 2018 World Cup semifinalists still have room for improvement as they chase a first major title since 1966.

“There were a couple of chances we conceded that just shouldn’t happen, so that’s still part of our game that we’ve got to improve upon,” he said.

“If we are to be a team that are going to challenge seriously, although we’re young, we’ve got to manage games well.

“We’ve got to make sure that, although we’re such a fantastic attacking threat, the rest of the team is right as well. There are things we’ve got to be better at.”