Noel Whelan has noted that Jurgen Klopp will find it difficult to get over the loss of Liverpool’s African contingent to the AFCON tournament this January.
The trio of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Naby Keita could miss as many as five fixtures, including two legs of the semi-final League Cup meeting with Arsenal, should any make it all the way through to the final on 6th February.
“If I was Liverpool manager, I’d be hating the fact that they’re going,” the 47-year-old told Football Insider.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s tradition. They go out there and they play, no difference to the South American cup.
“But at the same time, to lose a player of that stature, you know he can change the game. He scored the goal, he’s back on those winning ways again and that confidence is sky-high.
“To lose players like that when you’re 11 points behind Manchester City, who don’t seem to know how to lose at the minute, you want your better players there.
“They’re going to miss two, if not three, huge players in that team. That could make a difference in them fighting for that championship.”
With the club needing to claw back 11 points separating themselves and Manchester City (with a game in hand left to play for the former), the Merseysiders have a battle on their hands to not drop further points in a race slipping away from the Reds.
With all due respect to Crystal Palace and Brentford, our late meetings with the London-based outfits should be surmountable – even without the talents of two of our two main attacking threats to call upon.
Certainly, in the context of the title race, Klopp will be hoping that he can rely fully on a forward lineup likely to be comprised of Diogo Jota, Divock Origi and Bobby Firmino once the latter pair recover from a knee injury and COVID-19 respectively.
Our coaching team will be keen to remind fans and commentators alike that there are always solutions in the squad to utilise and we’ll be certainly hoping that this is the case as we look to navigate a tricky January period.