Sadio Mane has emerged as one of Liverpool’s key players already, so the African Cup of Nations is becoming more and more of a concern.
His country Senegal have qualified for the tournament which is played in January and February next term, so will be almost certainly be absent – as he’s a certainty to be selected by his national side…
The dates of the AFCON are January 17 to February 8, but Mane would leave at the beginning of the month to train with Senegal before the tournament.
This means he’ll miss this third round weekend of the FA Cup on January 7, but crucially – the trip to Old Trafford against Manchester United on January 14. He’ll also miss Swansea on January 21 and Chelsea on February 1. If Senegal go deep into the tournament, he’ll miss the away trip to Hull on February 4, while if we’re in the League Cup semis (January 9 and 23), Mane won’t be available then either.
All in all, that’s a minimum of four games and a maximum of seven. Thankfully, Joel Matip doesn’t play for Cameroon right now after rejecting the chance to play for his country in recent months, so we hope our new centre-back will stay in England.