Dependent on how one interprets FIFA rules, Liverpool and other Premier League outfits could lose out on key men for the African Cup of Nations for a longer period of time than initially expected.
This comes from Adam Leventhal at The Athletic, with the reporter noting that the Confederation of African Football will follow a FIFA rule that instructs clubs to release players for travel “…Monday morning the week preceding the week when the relevant final competition starts.”
This could, as the journalist suggests, mean that the Reds are forced to offload Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Naby Keita on 27th December – prior to the Merseysiders’ fixtures against Leicester City and Chelsea.
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Given it had been suspected that we’d only be without our wide men for the clashes with Brentford and Crystal Palace, this is an update that we can ill afford in the title race.
Of course, Leventhal did acknowledge that the rules could be construed in our favour if CAF were to accept a start date where most AFCON nations begin the tournament (10th-12th January) rather than the outlier in Burkino Faso and Cameroon (9th January).
Such an eventuality would certainly be preferable for Jurgen Klopp, allowing us to hold on to our key stars for the aforementioned couple of Premier League games.
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