Liverpool’s Fears of Losing Mo Salah’s Services at a Crucial Time Could Now Be Squashed

At the beginning of 2020, Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool Football Club was dismayed at the news that the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations had been rescheduled to January because of concerns about playing the finals in the summer in the host nation, Cameroon.

If that decision stays on course, Liverpool’s squad of players will not be able to call on the services of Egypt’s Mo Salah, Guinea international Naby Keita or the Senegalese international, Sadio Mane. Although it is yet a long way off, this rescheduling would clash with a critical period in the English Premier League as teams prepare for the run-up to the end of the Premiership season.

Via FOX4

The manager of The Reds went on to say that the rescheduling of the finals to coincide with the middle of the Premiership season would damage transfers too. He maintained that clubs would be put off by the fact that target players would have to miss the whole of January and perhaps some of February due to their international commitments.

A vast swathe of Egyptian football fans follow Liverpool FC’s progress closely because of Mo Salah. Salah’s goal-scoring credentials which have made him one of the world’s most feared and respected strikers.

He was top goal-scorer in the EPL in the 2018/19 season with 32 goals. The following season he was top again with 22 goals. This season, before the COVID-19 interruption, he was the level third top scorer.

His undoubted quality as one of the best strikers in the game at the moment is clear from Premier Leagues list of greatest ever scorers. He is in fourth place in this seasons list to date.

But, the fact of the matter is that he has only played 7,631 minutes. This compares to third-placed Thiery Henri who played 21,307 minutes, second-placed Harry Kane who played 15,768 minutes, and first-placed Sergio Aguero who played 18,571 minutes.

Salah is only 27 years old and if he carries on playing in the EPL, he will undoubtedly overtake Henri and could even catch up to Kane and Aguero.

It’s easy to see why his manager, Jurgen Klopp, would be upset about losing him for all of January 2021 if CAF do keep to the existing rescheduling of the AFCON finals. But, of course, that was before the Coronavirus outbreak surfaced.

The governing body of football in Africa, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), decided to suspend the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers for the 2021 finals in response to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

These games were initially scheduled to have been played in various African nations between the 25th of March and the 31st.

In a recently released statement, CAF said that their priority is their duty of care in respect of the health and safety of anyone involved in the sport including broadcasters, CAF employees, football officials and players.

They went on to say that while the number of Coronavirus infections in Africa is relatively low at present, it includes several players who were expected to play in the AFCON qualifiers who have contracted serious COVID-19 infections.

The situation has persuaded several clubs from which players have been chosen to represent their countries to refuse to release the players for international duty.

The recent decision to postpone the AFCON qualifiers was not been taken lightly, and CAF went on to say that they intend to share any proposals they format for a new calendar of events.

The postponement decision also applies to the Women’s AFCON qualifiers which were scheduled to take place between the 8th and 14th of April this year.

As for Jurgen Klopp’s angry reaction to rescheduling the AFCON finals to January/February, that proposal may not stand. The decision was made back in January this year before the Coronavirus outbreak spread outside China.

There is still much uncertainty as to what will transpire with the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming months, so we will all just have to wait and see – including Mr Klopp.

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