Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov has pledged to leave Mohamed Salah shackled when the World Cup hosts take on Egypt in St Petersburg on Tuesday.
Talk of Salah dominated Cherchesov’s pre-match media briefing at Krestovsky Stadium, with the Liverpool star having been declared fit to return from the shoulder injury he sustained during last month’s 3-1 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.
The Egyptian Football Association similarly declared Salah was ready to take on Uruguay in their opening 1-0 Group A defeat but experienced boss Hector Cuper opted not to risk his prized asset.
Salah, 26, tore Premier League and Champions League defences apart during a stunning debut season at Anfield that yielded 44 goals, but Cherchesov is confident he has the remedy as his team look to build upon an emphatic 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia.
“What can I say? I trust in my team,” he said. “I believe in my players and I will give you a simple answer.
“We are ready to do this and we will do this.”
Cherchesov dismissed the notion that roughhouse tactics would come into play and defended Madrid captain Sergio Ramos against an
accusation that he purposely caused Salah’s injury.
“Is someone going to behave as Ramos behaved? I don’t understand the question,” he replied.
“I saw that he was holding the cup of the Champions League and tomorrow there will be no cup.
“I believe that Ramos did not do this on purpose. This is a contact sport and, as I understand, no one injures people from other teams on purpose.”