Klopp: Difficult situation with Covid-19 infections plus Liverpool losing Salah, Mane, Keita

12:17 EAT 01/01/2022
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita of Liverpool.
The German tactician explains his plans in the absence of the trio who will be heading for Afcon

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has addressed the impact of losing forwards Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and midfielder Naby Keita for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 33rd edition of the African competition will kick off on January 9 in Cameroon and the Reds will miss the services of the trio who will represent their respective countries in the tournament set to run until February 6.

Salah, who has managed 15 Premier League goals from 19 appearances so far this season, will represent Egypt, Mane will turn out for Senegal while Keita will feature for Guinea.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s visit to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, the 54-year-old German tactician was asked for his thoughts on the trio heading to Afcon.

“Especially in our situation now, we know for a bit longer that the situation will be difficult because it's not only that we lose three players,” Klopp said as quoted by the club’s official website.

“The players we have now not available for [Chelsea] from a Covid point of view – I'm not 100 per cent sure, we will see about that exactly – but some of them at least will not be available for the first Arsenal game, for sure.

“So we have to see. That's how you do – you have to sort problems in football with football solutions. The football solutions will happen with the players we have available, and that's what we will try and that's what we will do.”

Klopp continued: “Planned in the long term, I know exactly how we could play if all the rest are fit and healthy and available, that's no problem and that would be a strong team and all these kind of things.

“But I don’t know who is available from the 3rd on, so let's have a look in the moment when we know about that. Then we will find the solution for it, we will play football games and we will see how we get through them.

“It all depends, though, who is available, that’s how it is. We will see.”

While Salah has been in great form, Mane has gone nine games without a goal or an assist for Liverpool this season.

Salah’s Pharaohs will open their campaign with a game against Nigeria, Mane’s Lions of Teranga will face Zimbabwe while Keita’s Syli Nationale will open proceedings against Malawi.