Liverpool are set to be without one of their key players for the beginning of the Premier League season next month.
The Mirror reported that Sadio Mane is likely to be unavailable for the Reds’ opening league fixture against Norwich on August 9th due to his prolonged involvement with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
According to The Mirror, Jurgen Klopp has given three weeks off to any player involved in international tournaments this summer and Friday’s AFCON final between Senegal and Algeria falls exactly three weeks before Liverpool face Norwich at Anfield.
There may be a slight possibility of Mane featuring against Norwich, though, with Liverpool-focused freelance writer Jack Sear tweeting that the Senegal forward already had a week’s holiday after last month’s Champions League final.
Usually, the unavailability of Mane, Mohamed Salah or Roberto Firmino would be a major concern for many Liverpool supporters.
However, the Senegal man will obviously need a well-earned rest after his efforts for his nation at AFCON and the other two members of Liverpool’s first choice front three should be back from their summer holidays by August 9th.
Also, there are other forwards showing good form who look capable of slipping into Mane’s place for the Premier League assignment against Norwich.
Indeed, in the semi-final against Barcelona, his two goals made light of the absences of Salah and Firmino, so he has shown an ability to step in seamlessly for any of Liverpool’s first choice forwards.
If he can maintain that progress over the next three weeks, he should be in the frame to make his competitive first-team debut against Norwich.
Being without Mane against newly-promoted Norwich shouldn’t be too much of a worry considering the firepower they have available in the squad. Indeed, the Reds haven’t lost to the Canaries in their last 12 meetings and were only beaten by Manchester City in the league last season.
What could concern Liverpool fans a lot more are the remarks of Saee Seck, head of the Senegal FA.
The Mirror reported quotes from Seck advising Mane to join Real Madrid, saying: “he won the Champions League last season and he has the chance to go to Madrid.
“For me I think it’s the best club in the world, even if I am a Barcelona fan I still think Real is the best and Mane should be thinking of that offer seriously.”
If the 27-year-old forward ignores his fellow countryman and stays at Anfield, missing only one Premier League game in the process, Liverpool should be able to breathe easy.
Liverpool fans, do you think Mane missing the start of the Premier League is justified or very worrying? Give us your views in the comments section below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!