Pundit highlights one player Klopp knows he’ll need once key men depart for AFCON

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Noel Whelan has suggested that Divock Origi will have a crucial role to play during the AFCON period when Liverpool are set to lose Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.

It’s hoped that the trio will only miss a couple of games courtesy of their involvement in the competition, with a key fixture against Chelsea in January under threat due to the possibility of an early release to their relevant nations.

“I’ve seen the way Jurgen Klopp goes on about him as a person, as a character, as a footballer. There’s obviously great mutual respect there,” the former Leeds United star told Football Insider.

“I think Klopp realises how much he is going to need Origi this season, especially during the African Cup of Nations.

“It’s a crucial time. It’s probably why he’s been given that extra bit of game time – just to ease him into match sharpness. He’ll be an integral part of that front three with Sadio Mane and Mo Salah missing.”

There’s no denying that the absence of two of the Reds’ major goalscorers will hamper the side’s attacking prowess domestically, though the former Mainz boss will certainly have faith that his backup options can fill in for however many games are necessary.

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Divock Origi has proven to be a reliable option when handed minutes by Klopp, though question marks will be raised about the capability of the likes of the Belgian international and Taki Minamino to cover for our departed stars.

Dependent on the number of fixtures we’re set to lose Salah and Mane for, the loss of the pair shouldn’t be considered a disaster, particularly with in-form hitman Diogo Jota remaining in the forward line.

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