Nearly three years ago, Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah became the most expensive player in the history of Liverpool F.C. when he transferred from A.S. Roma. But does that mean Salah is forever on Liverpool's side? It doesn't seem like it.
It's been recently reported that Liverpool may not actually have Salah at the start of the next Premier League season. This comes as Egypt expresses confidence in Salah's commitment to playing with his national team at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
In March, the Liverpool star will meet Amr El-Ganainy, president of the Egyptian football federation, where the forward will be asked if he will play with Egypt during their qualifying matches with Togo at the African Cup of Nations on March 23 and 31.
El-Ganainy is also optimistic that Salah will agree to be one of the country's three over-age players in their Japan Olympics squad in July, media reports have said.
"We are working in the deal with Salah about his participation in Tokyo 2020," the Egyptian football president said. El-Ganainy added that the decision is set to come together during the footballer's visit to the North African country.
"I think we are close to announcing because all the parts want Salah to be with the Egyptian team."
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will take place between July 22 and August 8, meaning Salah could miss pre-season and Liverpool's first league game during the season.
Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp has not yet been contacted by Egypt about their intentions to take Salah for the upcoming games. Klopp recently said he certainly hopes the Reds have Salah in pre-season, but understands how important the Tokyo Olympics actually is.
"Do I want to lose a player in the pre-season? No, of course not. But we have to consider different things. I will speak with Mo and all that stuff," the Liverpool boss said.
"We are completely clear about what we want, but we need more information – how will it look? when will the preparation start? all that stuff," he added.
Salah has almost always been on Egypt's side with such prestigious games.
He took part in 2012 London Olympics but did not participate in Rio 2016 as Egypt did not qualify for the games at the time.
He did take part in FIFA's 2018 World Cup, but his performance wasn't exactly a proud moment for him or Egypt. People had high hopes that Salah would boost Egypt's chances of winning, especially after his fantastic season for Liverpool that year. But those hopes were shot to the ground.
It is worth mentioning that Salah is better paired with Liverpool teammates Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, as the three form the perfect attack team.
"The three forwards create a specific dynamic in attack that tends to adversely disrupt opposing defences. Their tendencies provide the opposition with two constant problems to solve as a result of Firmino's inclination to retreat into midfield, united with Salah and Mane's preference to run in behind," Liverpool writes in a blog post, questioning how difficult it would be to replace Salah if the football club had to.
Teamed with Egyptian players with whom he might not have the proper dynamic nor extensive training, Salah's performance is meant to drop while outside of Liverpool F.C.