Jurgen Klopp is hopeful of retaining Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita for Liverpool’s pivotal festive fixtures, before the trio depart for the African Cup of Nations.
The Merseyside outfit are understandably keen to keep hold their star assets for as long as possible before they link up for international duty, with the tournament set to start on 9 January before ending just under a month later on 6 February.
The Reds are currently third in the Premier League table and just two points behind leaders Chelsea, with the next few weeks potentially vital in how the title race pans out, it looking at present as if it will be a thrilling three-way tussle between those two sides and champions Manchester City.
To lose both Mane and Salah, in particular, for a significant period of time would then be a major blow for their hopes of securing a second title in three seasons, the latter currently in explosive form after netting 19 goals in 19 games in all competitions.
As per the Guardian, Liverpool have approached both Senegal and Egypt regarding the possibility of those two influential figures linking up with their respective countries at a slightly later date, with the club set to approach Guinea to strike a similar deal for Keita.
The report outlines that according to FIFA regulations, the players should depart for their national teams after the Boxing Day clash with Leeds United, although Liverpool are hoping to have the trio available for the meetings with Leicester City on December 28th and title rivals Chelsea on January 2nd.
As such, the club would only be without their key men for just two league fixtures – against Brentford and Crystal Palace – with the German ‘optimistic’ that they can settle on a compromise.
“It’s not decided yet,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference for the trip to Molineux. “I am an optimistic person so I hope so, but it’s not written in stone, not completely in our hands.”
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The post Klopp hopeful of keeping Liverpool’s African Cup of Nations trio for key festive fixtures first appeared on The Football Faithful.
Author: Robbie Walls