We aren’t even finished with the current 19/20 Premier League season and already Liverpool are tearing their hair out about disruptions to next season.
Jurgen Klopp and his Reds look set to clinch the title this season, currently sitting 22 points clear at the summit of the table. If they do go on to win this years’ title and wish to defend it next year, they will have to do so without some of their biggest players for large parts of the season.
Over the course of the 19/20 season so far Liverpool have already had to deal with numerous high profile injuries; goalkeeper Allison was injured in the opening game of the season to Norwich and ultimately missed six league games; dominant defensive midfielder Fabinho suffered a knee injury that saw him miss a number of important games over the busy Christmas period, including games in the Club World Cup in Qatar; injuries to Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez have also meant that LFC have struggled for a defensive centre back partnership to pick up any momentum.
Mo Salah and Sadio Mane are two thirds of one or Europe’s deadliest strike forces and have contributed to vital goals in all competitions. With the Olympics and the Africa Cup of Nations all taking part during next year’s season, Liverpool look set to lose both of their star forwards.
Both players, as well as midfielder Naby Keita will be heading to the AFCON in January 2021, where, depending on results, may see them miss out on up to a month’s work of club football.
Mo Salah is also named on the fifty-man list to take part in Egypt’s Olympic football squad. The Olympic football teams are built up of players under the age of 23 but are allowed to name three players over the threshold and as Egypt’s talisman during the World Cup and as one of the deadliest forward players on the planet Egypt will obviously want him to take part.
Whilst the AFCON is a definite, clubs are allowed to have the final word on whether they allow a player the leave to play in Olympic competitions. Klopp has stated that himself and the club are yet to sit down with Mo Salah to discuss whether he will miss pre-season and the start of the season.