AFCON 2021: Who will be leaving the Liverpool squad to represent their country?

With AFCON set to get underway soon, who will be leaving the Liverpool squad to link up with their international teams?
Liverpool duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty ImagesLiverpool duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Liverpool duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The Africa Cup of Nations is set to get underway in Cameroon, with 24 countries battling it out to be crowned the best footballing nation in Africa.

The tournament was scheduled to be played at the start of 2021, but with the pandemic still raging on worldwide, the Confederation of African Football, decided to move the tournament back to the start of 2022, in a similar way we saw the Euro’s pushed back from summer 2020, to 2021.

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In the last AFCON tournament, Algeria were triumphant, with Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez proving influential in their pursuit of the title.

The tournament gets underway as the hosts Cameroon play Burkina Faso on Sunday, 9 January. AFCON will end in the capital Yaounde on Sunday, 6 February.

Who from Liverpool is missing?

Mohamed Salah - Egypt

Sadio Mane - Senegal

Naby Keita - Guinea

What games will they miss?

Arsenal - Away (Carabao Cup) Thursday, January 6.

Shrewsbury - Home (FA Cup) Sunday, January 9.

Arsenal - Home (Carabao Cup) Thursday, January 13.

Brentford - Home (Premier League) Sunday, January 16.

Crystal Palace - Away (Premier League) Sunday, January 23.

Bad news for Liverpool, then. The trio will miss both ties of their cup semi-final vs Arsenal but luckily for Liverpool they will only miss two Premier League games, both of which are against inferior opposition in which their back-ups should suffice.

Who can replace them?

I think it’s fair to say that Liverpool’s depth is not the best. Despite that, Diogo Jota could fill the void left by Salah, allowing Roberto Firmino a route back in to the starting 11, by resuming his role as the false-nine.

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Takumi Minamino could also start on the right, to complete the makeshift trio. Divock Origi could also feature.

Liverpool only made one signing in the summer, and spent just £35 million, a mere drop in the ocean compared to their rivals, so surely, there’s money to spend.

Long-term Wolves target Adama Traore has apparently had his asking price slashed by the Midland’s club, and could be available for just £20 million.

If Klopp could refine the winger’s technical skills, he could become a wonderful asset. He can fill the role vacated by Salah, and do the job until he’s back, and then work his way in the side.