Mohamed Salah returned to Liverpool action against Leicester City on Thursday night.
Ultimately, Salah’s campaign with the Pharaohs ended in heartbreak as they suffered a second final defeat in three tournaments courtesy of a nail-biting penalty shootout with Senegal.
Salah returns from AFCON agony
Salah didn’t actually get to take a spot-kick after 120 minutes of goalless football with his own Liverpool teammate, Sadio Mane, smashing home the winning penalty and breaking Egyptian hearts.
Truth be told, Senegal felt like the worthy winners having shown more consistent quality over the course of the competition, but that didn’t make the shootout defeat any less heart-wrenching for Salah.
As such, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that the 29-year-old’s emotions must still have been raw when he was called upon by Jurgen Klopp to make his first Liverpool appearance in more than a month.
Salah makes his return vs Leicester
The Reds boss eased his star man into the action by posturing him on the substitutes’ bench and waiting until the 60th minute, by which point Liverpool were leading 1-0, to pave the way for his return.
Off came Curtis Jones and Roberto Firmino; on came Salah and Harvey Elliott in a moment that – given what happened to the Egyptian star just days previously – felt tangibly emotional and special.
And boy did the Liverpool fans in attendance make their feelings known when Salah stepped foot on the hallowed turf for the first time since his AFCON agony.
Liverpool fans give Salah an amazing reception
True to Liverpool’s world-famous atmosphere at Anfield, the tens of thousands of Kopites in the stands made sure to rally up an amazing reception for Salah to welcome him back to the place he belongs.
With the iconic: “Mo Salah, running down the wing,” chant belted out across all four stands with the electricity that we’ve come to expect from Liverpool fans, it truly did feel like a ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ moment.
But don’t just take our word for it because the proof is in the pudding and you can check out everything from fan footage to Liverpool’s official video to see just beautifully the fans welcomed Salah back:
Mo Salah, Mo Salah !— M.Salah11 (@fcsalah11) February 10, 2022
Running down the wing…. 🎶🎶🎵 pic.twitter.com/B0ihyq8wzE
You can’t beat Anfield, can you?
A perfect welcome for Salah
Ok, ok, so forgive us for falling a little head over heels with the romanticism of Anfield’s atmosphere – though it is Valentine’s Day soon – but there’s no denying that it’s up there with football’s very best.
And although Salah doesn’t need 50,000 adoring fans singing his names to heel the wounds of the AFCON final, it’s nevertheless a lovely show of support from those who rank him amongst the club’s greats.
It will also serve as a perfect launchpad from which Salah can attack the remaining months of the season and channel the disappointment of AFCON defeat into finishing as strongly as possible with Liverpool.
After all, who knows, Salah’s last Anfield endeavour of 2022 could be lifting the Ballon d’Or trophy just in the way that the amazing reception from Liverpool fans on Thursday was his first. Only time will tell.