Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk has helped team-mate Mohamed Salah bounce back from Egypt’s disappointing World Cup playoff exit against Senegal on Tuesday. The Dutchman believes Salah would turn disappointment into success as he has a lot to play for in the current 2021-22 campaign.
Salah’s Egypt were beaten by Sadio Mane’s Senegal in FIFA World Cup qualifying on Tuesday. Despite a 1-0 win in the first leg, the Egyptians did not hold out in the second leg, succumbing to a 1-0 defeat.
With the aggregate scores remaining 1-1 after extra time, the game ended in a penalty shootout, where Salah uncharacteristically failed to convert. Zizo and Mostafa Mohamed also failed to convert their kicks for Egypt, allowing Senegal captain Sadio Mane to score the winning penalty.
Van Dijk, who was in action against Germany in the shootout, was unaware of his Liverpool team-mate’s elimination. After being briefed on Egypt’s loss, the Dutch defender commented (via Mirror):
“Of course I’m sorry for Mo and for Egypt, but football is like that sometimes. I’m sure he will turn disappointment into success for the rest of the season. We still have everything to play for, so there is still a lot to do for him.
Van Dijk then praised fellow teammate Mane, adding:
“As for Sadio, I wish him all the best, and if he’s in our squad, he’s going to need that good luck!”
With the international break over, Liverpool will return to Premier League action with a clash against Watford on Saturday.
Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah bathed in laser light ahead of crucial penalty
On Tuesday, Salah had one of the worst nights of his career. Taking the opening kick against Senegal, the 29-year-old skied his effort over the bar, instantly giving the hosts the lead.
Considering his big-game experience, the Egyptian should have done much better. However, before blaming the striker, one should also take note of the distraction caused by the Senegalese fans. Numerous green laser pointers shone on the Liverpool star as he rose to take his kick.
He tried to keep his composure and continued his momentum but ended up missing his opportunity. Salah was visibly distraught after the shooting, and he has every right to feel hurt by the events of Tuesday night.