Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is now facing a race to be fit for the Champions League final after picking up a muscle injury after 32 minutes in the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley. The Egyptian’s afternoon was brought to a premature, cruel ending and immediate concerns will now be raised over his availability for the showpiece European showdown with Real Madrid in Paris on May 28.
Salah was yet to really grow into the game when he concerningly went to ground, seemingly feeling something in his upper right leg.
Liverpool’s medical team soon attended to him as the likes of Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz circled their team-mate to express their concerns.
It was clear that Salah sensed his day was done, knowing that arguably an even bigger match lies in wait in just two weeks’ time.
Physio Chris Morgan began testing the forward’s condition on the pitch, flexing Salah’s leg while pressing his hip and adductor muscles.
It quickly became apparent that Salah could not continue as Morgan signalled to the bench that a change was necessary.
Diogo Jota was already warming up and soon replaced his fellow forward.
The game appeared to open up after the stoppage as both Jota and Romelu Lukaku went close at either end.
Salah was not the only injury scare for the Liverpool in the first half either, moments earlier Alisson picked up a knock following a clash with Marcos Alonso.
The Brazilian was fit to continue following the collision after making a brave save to deny the Chelsea left-wing-back.
Micah Richards claimed he could see the sadness in Salah’s face when he was withdrawn from the fray.
“Salah, looked distraught when he came off, it’s never nice to come off but especially in a final,” he said at half-time.
The Premier League’s top goalscorer has a history of picking up injuries in the first half of a final.
He was forced off in tears in the Champions League final in Kyiv in 2018 following a tangle with Sergio Ramos.
The Real Madrid defender locked Salah’s arm as the pair went to ground, creating some damage to his shoulder.
Salah left the field in tears that day and he’s been clear he wants revenge on Los Blancos when they meet at the Stade de France…
“If you ask everybody [at Liverpool], everyone wanted that game. I don’t know why we’re not allowed to talk about it but I’m ok to talk about it – I wanted that game! I wanted to play Real Madrid before that game [against Manchester City],” Salah recently said.
“Of course, I’m not giving too much credit to them. They’re an unbelievable team with a great coach and great players.
“When they asked me who I wanted, I said Madrid. It’s an easy answer.”
Salah got his wish but now he faces an anxious wait to discover whether he’ll be available for the crunch contest.