Salah, Mane, Keita cause headache for Liverpool’s Klopp ahead of AFCON 2021

Mahmoud Elassal , Thursday 16 Dec 2021

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed on Thursday that he is quite confident he will find solutions for the absence of his team’s African trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita during their participation in the 2021 African Cup of Nations.

Salah, Mane, Keita

Klopp is expected to lose the services of the trio for a month from the start of January as Egyptian Salah, Senegal’s Mane, and Guinea’s Keita will be answering the national call of duty in the AFCON 2021.

Egypt, Senegal, and Guinea — alongside other African topflight national teams — will play at the 2021 African Cup of Nations that is scheduled to be held in Cameroon between 9 January and 6 February.

“We knew the three [teams] would qualify and we also knew that at least two of them will go pretty far in the tournament,” Klopp was quoted as saying on Daily Mail.

“Can you be prepared for something like that, properly, perfectly? Like a one-for-one replacement for Sadio, a replacement for Mo, one replacement for Naby?”

“It’s tricky, but I am happy with the squad, and we still have options to continue playing,” Klopp said.

“The thing is, there are so many games coming up where we’ll still have the trio, but then we’ll have a lot of games where Mo and Naby and Sadio will not be here.”

“This means we have to find line-ups for these games — even when we have cup competitions — we have to find line-ups for these games as well, and that is the situation, so you can never be perfectly prepared for this.”

“We are quite confident we will find solutions,” Klopp assured.

The 54-year-old coach believes Liverpool may not be in their best form when they lose the trio, but he believes they will find a way to win games to maintain their position in the English Premier League title race.

Earlier this month, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) confirmed they received a request from Liverpool to delay the departure of star winger Mohamed Salah for the African Cup of Nations; stressing it is still under consideration, the EFA’s Spokesman Osama Ismail revealed.

According to the FIFA’s regulations, international players are supposed to be allowed by their clubs to join their national teams 14 days before any major tournaments.

Salah, 29, is enjoying a brilliant start with the Reds in the Premier League’s new season to take his tally to 21 goals in 22 matches played so far in all competitions.

Mane, 29, also scored 9 goals in 22 appearances so far this season while Keita, 26, scored only 3 goals in 11 appearances.

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