How many games Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are set to miss due to AFCON
Salah and Mane key parts of Liverpool’s squad
It is certainly fair to say that Liverpool would not be anywhere near the levels that they have reached recently without the efforts of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
Salah has provided 188 goal contributions in 214 appearances for the Reds, while Sadio Mane is not too far behind with 146 in 229 appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
This season, Salah has been arguably the best player in the world, and has already reached 10 goal contributions in just 8 appearances, the first Premier League player to do so.
The magnificent @MoSalah is now our highest scorer in @ChampionsLeague history pic.twitter.com/NjZl8T3qft
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 19, 2021
He has also continued to break records, becoming the first player in Liverpool history to net in nine consecutive games with a goal against Atletico Madrid which also made him the highest scorer in their Champions League history.
Given that the drop-off from Salah and Mane involves one of Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi or Curtis Jones playing, it is clear to see just how important they are. However, they are set to leave Liverpool in January.
AFCON timetable revealed
It is perhaps worse than first feared for Liverpool, who will also lose Naby Keita and Joel Matip to the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins in January 2022. As per The Athletic, the players involved are due to leave their respective clubs on Boxing day due to quarantine commitments.
Should they reach the latter stages, which both Egypt and Senegal have a good chance of doing, they may not be back until the second week of February.
NEW: It’s likely that a group of approximately 40 players will leave for AFCON soon after the final whistle blows on Boxing Day and some players may not fly back until the second week of February. By which time up to eight games could have been missed. #awlive [the athletic] pic.twitter.com/1DY8fpMJvu
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) October 21, 2021
This would see the pair miss up to 8 games of action, although they would just be back in time for the Champions League knockout ties. However, they would miss a pair of clashes with Leicester City, a trip to Chelsea and a pair of FA Cup ties should Jurgen Klopp’s side make it through.
Is this where Liverpool’s title charge falls away?