Sunday Oct 24, 2021. 10:00
Liverpool are hoping that they can retain their Africa Cup of Nation-bound trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita until early January.
Reports in the British media last week suggested that a potential departure date for the players is December 27, therefore ruling them out for the Reds for longer than was initially thought.
This would mean Salah, Mane and Keita missing key Premier League matches against Leicester City (December 28) and Chelsea (January 2).
However, the hope is that a seven-day release will be in place that will see the trio leave the Reds at the latest possible date on January 3, ensuring they could play against the Foxes and the Blues.
As per The Times, the schedule for the competition is one “that Klopp will be hopeful of releasing the players after the trip to Stamford Bridge”.
The trip falls on January 2, eight days before Mane and Keita’s opening fixture and nine prior to Salah’s which safely falls into a seven-day release date, but it could need clearance from respective associations.
Should the trio depart on January 3, they would miss, at least, Premier League fixtures against Brentford and Crystal Palace, a potential two FA Cup ties and a possible League Cup semifinal.
The AFCON is scheduled to run from January 9 to February 6 early next year in Cameroon. Salah’s Egypt are drawn in Group D alongside Nigeria, Sudan and Guinea-Bissua, while Mane’s Senegal and Keita’s Guinea are together in Group B alongside Zimbabwe and Malawi.
The trio of Salah, Keita and Mane will likely feature prominently later today (Sunday 24 October) when Liverpool play Manchester United in a blockbuster Premier League clash at Old Trafford.