Liverpool could find themselves without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for their Premier League clash with Chelsea on 2 January.
That’s if Egyptian club Al Ahly get their wish for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be moved.
The Mirror‘s David Lynch reported that Liverpool are ‘confident’ that the trio will be available for the trip to Stamford Bridge, but the African club’s intervention threatens to throw a ‘spanner in the works’.
Al Ahly are lobbying CAF to move the tournament’s start date from 9 January to 3 January. That would ensure they had their key players available for the start of the Club World Cup on 3 February.
However, from a Liverpool perspective, it would rule out Salah, Mane and Keita for the meeting with title rivals Chelsea, currently just one point behind The Reds in the table.
Just how big a blow would this be for Liverpool?
Salah is Liverpool’s runaway top scorer with 21 goals in all competitions, more than twice the tally of his nearest challenger. Mane is joint-second with nine goals, while Keita is a valuable rotation option, having played seven league games so far this season and netted three goals in all competitions.
Fan feed Anfield Edition relayed Lynch’s report on Al Ahly’s wishes, and here’s what some Reds supporters made of it.
Liverpool fans flock to AFCON update
“If AFCON allow this to happen, then this tournament is meaningless, less significant than Club World Cup. Even FA didn’t want to move their FA Cup preliminary rounds for us when we went to Club World Cup.”
“Against Chelsea without Salah and Mane? We will be in trouble, that’s for sure. Hopefully before that there will be new players signed. Either Raphinha, Bowen or Antony to replace Salah’s position. For Mane’s position maybe Jota can play there.”
“Jog on la”
“Just cancel the AFCON altogether and move it to some other time”
“Void the AFCON, lives are at stake for God’s sake, remember that saying well when LFC were 25 pts clear in 19-20 PL, just void the AFCON as it’s not even started……..”
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