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Liverpool won’t miss Salah, Mane and Keita during Afcon, says Klopp

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Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to feature for Egypt and Senegal respectively during Afcon

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he is happy with his squad and has options to cover for the absence of key players during the African Nations Cup.

The 24-team event will take place in Cameroon from Jan 9 – Feb 6 and Liverpool are set to lose Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Guinea’s Naby Keita for several weeks.

Salah has scored 21 goals in all competitions for Liverpool, while Mane and Keita are also key members of the side.

“I am happy with the squad and we still have options,” Klopp said on Wednesday (Dec 15). “We knew three would be qualified and be there and we knew that at least two of them will go pretty far in the tournament.

“Can you be prepared for something like that, properly, perfectly? Like a one-for-one replacement for Sadio, a replacement for Mo, one replacement for Naby? That’s tricky in each situation.

“We are quite confident we will find solutions.”

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Klopp added that while Liverpool might not be able to play the same way without the trio, they would adapt their gameplan to suit the line-up.

“Whoever will play in a period when the three boys are not here will have a plan and gives us the chance to win a football game,” said the German.

“Can we play exactly the same football? Probably not, but who cares? We play the football we are able to play then, that’s the situation.”

Second-placed Liverpool, who trail league leaders Manchester City by four points, host Newcastle United on Thursday (Dec 16).

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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