When Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane leave for the Africa Cup of Nations, JURGEN KLOPP’s selection of attacking starters is a headache.
The two wingers – along with midfielder Nabi Keita – will leave for the tournament on January 2 after the club’s crucial Premier League clash against Chelsea.
Liverpool received a boost from the Confederation of African Football after the governing body agreed to allow players to leave their clubs in the new year.
This has allowed top-flight clubs to introduce their earliest departing African stars between 27 December and 3 January, with the competition starting six days later.
Commenting on the agreement, Klopp commented: “The news is obviously good, we’re really grateful for that.
“I think that’s right, we needed help and we got help. All the clubs got help, so it’s good that the boys can play this game. After that, they still have to go.”
But with the tournament lasting until 6 February, the Liverpool trio could miss up to five games depending on the progress of Egypt, Senegal and Guinea.
They would certainly not play in the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal, as well as against Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup.
Free bets: Receive over £2,000 in new customer deals
And the players will also be unavailable for the Premier League match against Brentford and potentially a trip to Crystal Palace.
Here’s what a Merseyside outfit might look like in the absence of Salah, Mane, and Keita.
Brazil goalkeeper Alisson will certainly be among the sticks starting 17 of Liverpool’s 19 Premier League games this season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold will be at right-back, with Scotland international Andy Robertson positioned on the opposite flank.
A centre-back pairing could include Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk after the former once again decided against joining Cameron.
With Keita not being a substitute for Klopp, the German could introduce Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara in the middle of the pitch.
Diogo Jota could then swap the line leading to the slot in the left wing for Salah, with Takumi Minamino to replace Sadio Mane on the right.
Brazil’s centre-forward Roberto Firmino will be recalled to the starting XI to finish on top.
I Read Our Transfer News Live Blog For the latest rumours, gossip and deals made