Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita Could be Missing for Liverpool Next Year

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With the news that the African Cup of Nations has been moved to January 2021, Liverpool could be missing key players Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for a significant period of time. The tournament was due to be held in the summer but has been moved because of adverse weather conditions during that period in Cameroon, the host country.

Liverpool Set to be Without Key Players Next Year in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita

The Impact of Missing Mohamed Salah and Other Key Players

The loss of Salah and Mane will be hard for the Reds to handle. The duo have become two of the most feared attackers in Europe. Their form over the past two years has seen them nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or.

In both player’s absence, Liverpool have several internal options. Both Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi have been solid in limited minutes this season. The duo have scored a combined four goals in the Premier League, but it’s hard to see how they could replace either Salah’s or Mane’s attacking output permanently.

In addition, Takumi Minamino must step up. The Japanese international had a decent first game, but still needs time to settle in. A wildcard could be the introduction of Harvey Elliot. The 16-year-old has been very impressive in the League Cup this season. He could make a real impact with Salah and Mane at AFCON.

As for Keita, the Guinean has started to show flashes of his talent after a difficult start to his Liverpool career.

The only question is if Keita’s absence prompts manager Jurgen Klopp to extend the contract of Adam Lallana, which is set to expire this summer.

Transfers

Klopp tends not to make short-term decisions when it comes to transfers. The German usually only gets his man and never compromises. This could be seen by his decision to wait six months for Virgil van Dijk rather than to sign another centre-back.

This situation could change all of that.

Recent reports have linked the Reds to Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele. While most experts agree that his signing would be a waste of resources, this situation could change all of that. The winger would be a good temporary replacement for either Salah or Mane.

It would be unlike Klopp to only think of the short-term. When Mane and Salah return, there would be no place for Dembele in the Liverpool squad.

It will be interesting to see if Klopp pursues any short-term options. A lack of replacement for such a period of time could see Liverpool falter in their quest for trophies.

AFCON Problem

No club in England is as affected by this move as Liverpool. While their opponents have been unable to stop them this season, the scheduling calendar might just do that next time around.

 

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