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FIFA World Cup 2018: Mohamed Salah looks to extend purple patch

Mohamed Salah aim to extend his brilliant run of form when he leads Egypt’s charge in the FIFA World Cup 2018.

football Updated: Jun 04, 2018 15:10 IST
Bhargab Samrah
Bhargab Samrah
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA World Cup 2018,Mohamed Salah,Mohamed Salah FIFA World Cup 2018
Mohamed Salah has performed brilliantly for Liverpool this season and will be the talisman for Egypt in the FIFA World Cup 2018. (AFP)

It has been less than a year since Mohamed Salah signed for Liverpool. In this period, the Egyptian forward has established himself as one of the most feared footballers in the country. With 44 goals in 52 games for Liverpool, Salah helped carry Liverpool to the final of the Champions League, only for his season to end in tears with a shoulder dislocation leading up to a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in the title clash. (FIFA World Cup 2018 Schedule)

In the same period, Salah helped Egypt qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. Doubts remain over his availability for the tournament and Egypt’s fate in Russia will be dependent on the speed of Salah’s injury recovery.

Egypt open their campaign against Uruguay, the strongest side in the group on paper, on June 15. While Salah remains a major doubt for the game, his chances of a return are brighter against hosts Russia on June 19.

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If he plays, the Liverpool forward will relish his prospects against a Russian backline that has struggled on numerous occasions in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Last season, Salah excelled on the right side on a three-man frontline for Liverpool. With Egypt, Salah will an inferior supporting cast but coach Hector Cuper will be eager to offer him the same level of freedom that he has enjoyed in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side.

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Dubbed ‘Egyptian king’ in a popular chant in Merseyside, Salah’s reputation has grown far beyond the football field in England as well as his native country.

There haven’t been many occasions when an entire country’s hopes at the World Cup have been pinned on one player. Ahead of football’s showpiece event in Russia, the aspirations of Egypt rest firmly on the shoulders of their talisman Salah. The ‘Egyptian king’ can immortalise himself in Egyptian footballing folklore if he manages to take the side beyond the group stages this summer.

First Published: Jun 04, 2018 15:10 IST