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22nd Oct 2021

Liverpool to hold AFCON talks in attempt to reduce player absences

Callum Boyle

The Reds are set to lose Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in January

Liverpool are planning to hold talks to reduce the amount of time their players are away during the Africa Cup of Nations, according to the Daily Mail.

Jurgen Klopp is set to lose three key players, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita all expected to represent their respective nations at the tournament, which is set to take place from 9 January 2022 to 6 February 2022 after last year’s was rescheduled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nations are allowed to call up their players from 27 December, meaning that Liverpool could be without their star talents for the best part of eight games should the Reds progress in both domestic cups alongside their league fixtures.

Reports in the Mirror say that Klopp has a strong relationship with the bosses of Egypt, Senegal and Guinea and is planning to hold talks during the next international break in November, with the German hoping that the respective players will be allowed to be released at a later date.

The Liverpool boss is keen to keep his stars until at least after the first round of fixtures in 2022, with the Reds facing Leicester City on 28 December and title-rivals Chelsea on 2 January – the last game before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Out of the three, Salah is without doubt the biggest miss to Liverpool. The 29-year-old has been in scintillating form of late, scoring 12 goals this season so far and is a nomination for the Ballon d’Or.

Klopp has previously shown his frustrations towards the timing of the tournament after the decision to move it back from the summer to the winter was made, with the German saying in 2020: “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?”

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