Klopp won't replace Salah and Mane during Africa Cup of Nations

Jurgen Klopp won’t sign replacements for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane during the Africa Cup of Nations in January with Liverpool’s star duo at risk of missing a month if the tournament goes ahead amid concerns over the Omicron variant

  • Jurgen Klopp has no plans to find transfer window solutions for AFCON players
  • He could be without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for a month 
  • But the German is ‘happy with the squad’ and insists he still has plenty of options
  • The tournament is still hanging in the balance due to the Omicron Covid variant

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has no plans to find transfer window solutions for Africa Cup of Nations absentees Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.

The Reds boss could be without at least two members of that trio for a month from the start of January and while Egyptian Salah and Senegal’s Mane will be huge misses, it is difficult to replace them.

The tournament is hanging in the balance with organisers adamant it will still take place despite widespread reports that it may have to be scrapped with the Omicron coronavirus variant spreading rapidly. 

Jurgen Klopp has no plans to find transfer window solutions for Africa Cup of Nations absentee

Liverpool could be without trio Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for the whole of January

28 Dec: Leicester City (a) – league

Jan 2: Chelsea (a) – league

Jan 9: FA Cup third round (TBC)

Jan 15: Brentford (h) – league

Jan 22: Crystal Palace (a) – league

Jan 29: FA Cup fourth round

Feb 9: Leicester City (h) – league

Feb 12: Burnley (a) – league 

*In the event of Egypt and Senegal going far in AFCON 

It was claimed by RMC Sport in France on Wednesday that the Central African Federation (CAF) may have been forced to scrap the showpiece, which will be held in Cameroon and is due to start on January 9 and run until February 6. 

But organisers are adamant that the AFCON will take place, with just weeks left until the first game. However, there is still confusion over the situation, with pressure seemingly building for a drastic U-turn as a result of the worsening global health emergency.

Despite the uncertainty, Klopp insisted before his side’s clash with Newcastle at Anfield on Thursday night that he would not be going into the transfer market to replace the players he will be without.

‘We knew three would be qualified and be there and we knew that at least two of them will go pretty far in the tournament,’ said Klopp.

‘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?

‘That’s tricky in each situation but I am happy with the squad and we have options to play and still to play football.

‘The thing is there are so many games coming up when we are still together – that is the most intense period now – but then we have a lot of games when Mo and Naby and Sadio are not here.

‘That 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 insists his current players can cover for the trio as they look to keep pace in the title race

Klopp accepts his side may not be at their best without Salah and Mane but he believes they will find a way to win games to keep them in the title race.

‘Whoever will play in the period when the three boys are not here, will have a plan, and gives us a chance to win a football game,’ he added.

‘Can we play exactly the same kind of football? Probably not – but who cares? Then we play the football we are able to play then.

‘You cannot always have the perfect solution. In this case we are far away from being the perfect solution without these players but we knew it and we now we have to deal with it.’

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