AFCON 2022: impact on Liverpool, what matches players will miss and the Reds' last hope

AFCON could have a much larger impact on Liverpool in 2022 than first thought, according to a new report. Liverpool have one last hope to get what they want.

Liverpool play a possible four games while the Africa Cup of Nations happens next year. The tournament starts on January 9th, with the final scheduled for February 6th.

Liverpool’s games against Brentford and Crystal Palace fall between those dates. Their FA Cup 3rd Round match will, too, as would a Fourth Round match. The Reds certainly won’t have Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Naby Keita for the earliest and only for Palace if their respective nations exit at the group stage.

But it sounds as though the impact of AFCON could be far greater. That’s according to the Athletic, who claim there’s a real possibility that nations call players up early.

The earliest competing nations can call players up in December 27th – the Monday of the week before the tournament starts. The likes of Nigeria, for example, apparently intend to do just that.

If Egypt, Senegal and Guinea follow suit, Liverpool will miss their African players for at least another two games. Worryingly, those fixtures would be away at Leicester City and then Chelsea.

AFCON 2022 threatens greater impact

The final hope here, then, is that Liverpool can convince countries to wait before calling players up. It’s a possibility.

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People can point to Euro 2020, however, as an example of how things can go. European countries got a full two weeks with players before the tournament and African nations will want the same.

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We’d argue that the situations are different, though.

Euro 2020 happens once the season is done and if the players aren’t with their countries, they’re effectively on holiday. This December & January, though, players are still training and competing with their clubs.

The need to have players arrive early isn’t as great, then. The desire to work with players is still there, of course, but the need to have them for a full two weeks isn’t quite as great.

And that will likely be Liverpool’s argument here. Hopefully, it’s one that nations listen to or AFCON 2022 will severely disrupt this season.

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