22/10/2021; 11:57 AM By : Steven D. Thompson
English teams are not particularly fond of signing African players to their team because of what it portends. A major factor behind this is the African Cup of Nations.
The African Cup of Nations comes up every two years, and it takes place when the season is already in full gear. Teams with players participating in the tournament usually face disruptions to their plans.
Liverpool is among the teams worried because of the players they will lose for that period.
Liverpool have three players in their ranks that are important for the team and are also key to their national teams. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita. Rarely does a team lose such quality in one go. That is the situation the Reds find themselves in.
Need to see how Liverpool cope when they lose Salah, Mane and Keita to the African nations cup.— The Thomas Tuchel (@London_is_Blues)
Jurgen Klopp hasd making arrangements for life without these players as they prepare to travel for the January tournament.
As per the Mirror, Liverpool cannot stop the players from leaving but want to negotiate with their various FA’s to allow them to keep the players for a bit longer before they arrive at training camp.
FIFA rules allow countries to ask for the release of their players on December 27 for a tournament that will end in the second week of February. The 2022 edition January 9 and ends February 6.
The African Cup of Nations comes up at a critical period for Liverpool. The season will be in full gear and approaching the business end. Liverpool will have to navigate that period without Senegal’s Sadio Mane, Mo Salah of Egypt and Naby Keita of Guinea.
Liverpool does not have the depth of teams like Chelsea and Manchester City and would be stretched thin. The Anfield side will play as many as eight matches within that period, and they are season-defining matches. They have Premier League matches against Chelsea and Leicester, an FA Cup third-round game to play and, possibly, an EFL Cup semi-final.
Sadio Mane and Mo Salah are instrumental to every good thing the club is achieving. They carry a fear factor that gives Liverpool an edge in games. Their absence for the Nations Cup will hamper Liverpool’s challenge for the title.
Jurgen Klopp knows by law he can’t prevent them from leaving, but he is counting on his good relationship with the three national teams to delay their departure. He hopes talks in the November international window will convince the three countries to allow the players to arrive in January.
Liverpool plays Chelsea on January 2, about a week before Mane, Keita and Salah play their first game at AFCON. Senegal and Guinea will be in action on January 10, while Egypt will play the following day.
Private bookmakers in the UK currently have Liverpool as one of the favourites to win the league but losing three players for potentially a month could hamper their chances.