Liverpool to hold AFCON talks or risk losing Salah and Mane for eight games

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Liverpool are set to hold talks in order to reduce the time their star players are away on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp faces losing arguably his two best players, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, to the tournament for potentially eight games.

FIFA rules currently state that players can be asked to join their national teams as early as December 27 for the competition, which ends in the second week of February.

Liverpool will play up to eight matches in that period with several key league fixtures against the likes of Chelsea and Leicester, as well as an FA Cup tie and a potential EFL Cup semi-final.

Being without primary goal-scorers Salah and Mane, as well as Naby Keita, will certainly lessen the side’s chances of coming away with victories in a period known for its packed fixture-list.

But Klopp is hopeful of persuading the Guinea, Egypt and Senegal national teams to summon their players slightly later in January.

Leaving after January 2 will allow them to star against Chelsea but still give more than a week to prepare for AFCON with their national teams.

Mane’s Senegal and Keita’s Guinea both play their opening fixtures on January 10, while Egypt kick-off their tournament on the following day.

Speaking about the tournament previously in 2020, Klopp pre-empted its negative impact on Liverpool’s season.

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He said: "I like the competition… [but] the African Cup of Nations going back to January is, for us, a catastrophe.

"On top of that we have absolutely no power so if we did say, 'We don't let him go', the player is suspended.

"How is that possible that the company who pays the player cannot decide that the player has to stay or not?"

Salah has scored an incredible 12 goals in 11 appearances so far this season and was recently rewarded by having his waxwork unveiled at Madame Tussauds.

Meanwhile Mane has contributed his own impressive tally of six goals in 11 matches.

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  • Liverpool FC
  • Jurgen Klopp
  • Premier League
  • Sadio Mane
  • Mohamed Salah
  • FA Cup

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