Jurgen Klopp reveals Liverpool talks over Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane's AFCON exits

Liverpool are set to lose stars Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in January as they partake in the African Cup of Nations, but Jurgen Klopp is hoping to keep the Reds duo around for as long as possible

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Jurgen Klopp post Southampton press conference

Jurgen Klopp revealed that Liverpool are still working on getting permission for Mo Salah and Sadio Mane to report late for the African Cup of Nations in a bid to have the duo available to face Chelsea in the New Year.

Egyptian star Salah and Senegalise strike partner Mane could be missing for five weeks when the tournament kicks off in Cameroon in January.

FIFA regulations state that they should link-up with their respective countries after Liverpool’s Boxing Day clash with Leeds.

But the Mersysiders are in talks with both nations in a bid to keep Salah and Mane until after the crunch Premier League clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on January 2.

That would also make them available to Klopp for the game against Leicester at the King Power Stadium on December 28.

Klopp was asked if the talks had been successful after his team’s 4-0 thrashing of Southampton.

Join the debate! How should Klopp deal with losing Salah and Mane? Let us know here.

Klopp is hoping to lose Salah and Mane for as little time as possible


Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

He said: “Not really. It’s too early for that. We are still talking and we are hopeful.”

Klopp believes Diogo Jota made a smart decision to join the club even though he knew he faced the challenge of breaking up their well-established front three.

The Portugal international scored twice, including the Premier League’s quickest goal of the season after 97 seconds, as Klopp’s side cruised to a 4-0 win over Southampton.

Jota now has seven league goals for the campaign, the same as team-mate Sadio Mane and four fewer than Mohamed Salah, and no other player in the division has scored more.

The 24-year-old has 20 goals in 46 matches in all competitions since joining from Wolves in September 2020 – which includes three months out with a knee injury last winter.

His Premier League record for the club of 16 in 31 is even better and shows why he has flourished alongside Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino and not been intimidated by the competition they pose.

“An exceptional player, exceptional boy,” was Klopp’s assessment.

“A perfect signing as he has everything a Liverpool player in this squad needs; he has the technical skills, he has the physical skills and he is very smart so can learn all the tactical stuff quickly.

Have your say! How did Liverpool fare against Southampton? Rate the players below.

“He can also play the three forward positions and the number 10. He has the speed and desire to finish things off.

“It’s the right decision because hypothetically when I talk to a player and they say ‘Where will I play?’ it is decided by your performance.

“In the end it is about making 30 to 35 really good games instead of getting somehow through a season and playing 50 games.

“You need more than 11 players in a squad and you need more than three strikers even though we play with three strikers and he was smart enough to see that.

“His goalscoring record is pretty good, unfortunately he had a big injury last year and that is never helpful but he is back thank God and he fits really well into this team.”

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