Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah will likely miss four crucial January fixtures due to international duty at the African Cup of Nations, after the 2021/22 Premier League fixtures were confirmed today [Liverpool FC].
The Lowdown: Salah and Mane expected to be key men again in 2021/22
As Liverpool gear up for the 2021/22 Premier League season, they will be desperate to improve on their third placed finish last time out.
Of course, star men Mane and Salah were instrumental in their eventual UEFA Champions League qualification [Athletic].
Both will of course be key men again in the forthcoming months, and fan fears over AFCON scheduling has now been confirmed as both players could miss out on four crucial Premier League fixtures later on in the 2021/22 calendar.
Will Liverpool be able to cope without Mane and Salah?
The Latest: Liverpool fixtures confirmed
The major international tournament has been scheduled for the 9th January – 6th February, 2022 [Inside The Games], with the team camps sure to be set up shortly before that.
Expected to be staring for Egypt and Senegal respectively, Salah and Mane will likely miss clashes against Chelsea (A), Brentford (H) and Crystal Palace (A), which fall on January 1st, 15th and 22nd respectively [Liverpool FC].
In spite of the tournament ending in early February, the pair are unlikely to be back, rested and ready to face Leicester City (H) on the 9th February [Liverpool FC] too.
The Mirror, via Anfield Watch, believe the duo could miss as many as six matches for the Reds, but these four fixtures are the ones they look almost certain to be absent for.
The Verdict: Losing both players for this period will be a bitter blow for Liverpool
Undoubtedly, this scenario could come at an unbelievably awkward time for Liverpool. Hoping to challenge reigning champions Manchester City for the title, their attacking arsenal is likely to be significantly weakened as they embark towards a critical batch of contests.
Salah has been the barometer of consistency for Liverpool in recent years, not least in 2020/21 where he finished as the Reds top goal-scorer on 31 goals from 51 outings [Transfermarkt].
Comparatively, Mane endured a disappointing year by his standards. Nevertheless, he still converted 16 goals from 48 appearances [Transfermarkt].
Liverpool will need to rely on alternative offensive options as they bid to stay consistent in what is a period of the season typically marred by fatigue and injuries for all teams, such is the hectic nature of the winter schedule.
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