What games will Salah and Mane miss?- Liverpool set to face AFCON trouble starting Gameweek 21

The 2021 version of the Africa Cup of Nations, set to be played in Cameroon at the start of 2022 due to COVID reasons will see a lot of superstars depart from the Premier League to report for international duty. We at Alley Sport look at two such invaluable players for Liverpool and answer the question: What games will Salah and Mane miss?

Africa Cup of Nations 2021 Schedule

The AFCON 2021 will be the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the biennia international men’s football championship of Africa organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). With the virus first postponing it from January this year, and unfavourable climactic conditions preventing the continental tournament from going ahead with the new schedule in the summer months of June and July 2021 as well, the competition will now be held from the 9th of January to the 6th of February, 2022, with the final scheduled on February 9 at Olembe Stadium in the central African country of Cameroon.

Several Premier League stars will be called up for international duty from the Premier League at the start of January. But with the core of their attacking talent formed by African heroes Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, Liverpool fans’ biggest worry will definitely be: What games will Salah and Mane miss due to this AFCON?

What games will Salah and Mane miss?- Liverpool set to face AFCON trouble Action
Let’s look at what games will Salah and Mane miss?

What games will Salah and Mane miss?

Liverpool are set to be embroiled in a tight battle at the top of the Premier League, with the Reds so far making a strong case for lifting their 2nd Premier League title. They are set to suffer a massive blow in January as two of their stars from their feared attacking trio will be setting sail for Cameroon. Considering that both Salah and Mane make it to the final of the AFCON with Egypt and Senegal respectively, they could potentially miss 7 massive fixtures for the Reds in all competitions which include:

DateMatchCompetition
January 2, 2022Chelsea vs LiverpoolPremier League
January 9, 2022 Liverpool vs Shrewsbury TownFA Cup
January 15, 2022 Liverpool vs BrentfordPremier League
January 23, 2022 Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Premier League
February 9, 2022 Liverpool vs Leicester City Premier League
February 12, 2022 Burnley vs Liverpool Premier League
February 19, 2022 Liverpool vs Norwich City Premier League

What games will Salah and Mane miss?- Liverpool set to face AFCON trouble

Should either Egypt or Senegal be eliminated from the competition earlier, they will miss fewer games, but the table accounts for the maximum duration they could be away. There are speculations afoot that being called up a week early, they will also miss Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea, as indicated in the table. It might also be the case they they would be awarded some rest after such a hectic schedule and international travel, increasing the possibility of them missing further games for the Reds.

What games will Salah and Mane miss?- Liverpool set to face AFCON trouble  (Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge)
What games will Salah and Mane miss?- Liverpool set to face AFCON trouble (Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge)

The Implications

Liverpool have been heavily reliant on their two wide forwards for goals and assists this season. With Salah in blistering form leading the Reds’ title charge with 14 goals and 9 assists, Sadio Mané has also chipped in with 7 goals, most of them at crucial junctures. At a time when the fixture list calls for consistent performers, Liverpool would be missing their two most consistent players over the past few seasons and it will definitely have heavy implications on their battle at the top. To give a prediction, we at Alley Sport believe the possibility of Liverpool to drop out of the top four even might not seem as far fetched by the time Salah and Mane return.

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