Liverpool will receive a huge boost if new AFCON rule changes are agreed upon as both Sadio Mané and Mo Salah would no longer miss Premier League games.
AFCON was a real pain in the proverbial for Liverpool Football Club in the 2016/17 campaign.
Sadio Mané missed the entirety of January on duty for Senegal, while Joel Matip locked horns with the Cameroonian board and was stuck in a weird, footballing limbo despite having retired from international football.
The signing of Mo Salah this summer was of course met with fairly universal delight amongst Liverpool fans, especially once they saw his goal and assists tallies but there was also a sense of trepidation. The club had just fixed their lack of depth in the wide areas problem by signing another player who’d have to participate in the African Cup of Nations.
What good is a Sadio Mané replacement in an AFCON year when he’s got to be replaced too?
Well, all that that could be about to change.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have begun proposing changes to the tournament in order to revamp both the format and when it takes place with the biggest alteration being to move the tournament from the winter, to the summer months.
This would see it take place in a similar time frame to most other international footballing tournaments such as the World Cup, European Championships and Copa America while also meaning that teams would no longer be prone to losing key stars at an important time in the season.
Currently, the Reds squad would be threatened by the prospect of losing Mo Salah and Sadio Mané – both a huge loss in their own right – but if they were to secure Naby Keïta from Lepzig this summer, the Guinea would join them. That’s a quarter of the likely first choice starting line-up gone for a whole month.
If I was Jürgen Klopp, I’d already be on the phone to the Confederation of African Football signing whatever petition they need to make it happen.
The next AFCON is set to take place in 2019 between January 12 and February 3 in Cameroon. A decision on the tournament’s future could be made in the next 48 hours.