When we signed Sadio Mane, we knew we’d be without him for a period every other season due to the African Cup of Nations, but in fairness – we probably didn’t know he was going to be quite as good as he’s so far shown!
This is why it’s slightly disappointing that the Echo have confirmed that our 24-year-old flyer is a practical certainty to be called up by Senegal in January.
Mane has already established himself as an automatic starter under Jurgen Klopp, as he injects pace and dynamism into our forward line. This was displayed by our shoddy performance verses Burnley in his absence through injury, so we hope we can cope without him during one of the busiest months of the season…
In better news, Joel Matip, our Cameroonian centre-back, is unlikely to head to Gabon for the tournament, as he continues his self-imposed exile from international duty. Their manager Hugo Broos says Matip has simply ignored his attempts to call him up,
“There are players who never wanted to come and play these games,” Broos said.
“They have their reasons but it also shows that if these people are not there it’s a good thing. It means they do not have the necessary will.
“I refer in particular to the Matip brothers. For Joel, I called him 15 times and I even sent him messages but he never responded. Marvin preferred to stay with his club.”
Matip’s only played one Premier League game so far, but he’s expected to establish himself as an important first-team starter, especially with Mamadou Sakho told to leave and the likes of Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel already departing this summer.