Alan Shearer has shared his concerns about the impact losing Mo Salah and Sadio Mane to the AFCON might have on the club’s title chances.
The world-class duo are set to be released in January to participate in the tournament taking place in Cameroon, with it still remaining unclear exactly how many top-flight games they could miss.
“Liverpool also lost some key players to Covid last week but their biggest worry is probably how they will cope in January when Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are away with Egypt and Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations,” the former Newcastle United hitman wrote for BBC Sport.
“If that tournament goes ahead, Salah and Mane might only end up missing two league games each – but it could be three or four. In a title race this tight, that could be enough to cost Jurgen Klopp’s side the big prize.
“We are talking about two of his star players, who can and will change games by scoring goals, being away for up to a month.”
With further concerns raised about player safety beyond COVID-19 transmission, with some of the venues at the competition hosting serious security threats, Liverpool and other Premier League outfits certainly have good cause for protest when it comes to things going ahead as planned.
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Given the two games that have been touted repeatedly since the start of the season (with all due respect to Brentford and Crystal Palace), the main threat to our title chances would appear to be which specific games the pair miss.
With our January meeting with Chelsea under threat, as far as Mane and Salah’s possible international commitment-enforced exclusion is concerned, there could be particularly serious ramifications down the line were relevant players to be sent packing earlier than hoped.
We’ve some solid options waiting in the wings when the duo do depart – certainly, it’s worth pointing out that the likes of Diogo Jota and Bobby Firmino will remain, which is a positive worth emphasising.
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