Liverpool will need to make do without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita in January due to AFCON taking place.
The Reds’ African gems will be absent and, if Liverpool don’t sign cover in the January transfer window, Jurgen Klopp could find himself in a tricky situation.
That said, it is premature to assume the Reds will lose the Premier League title without them and Klopp can still mastermind his way through the New Year without his key players.
Keita will be a miss but if Thiago, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson are fully fit, the Guinean isn’t even a starter. The hope is they can all avoid injury and be available when Keita jets off to link up with Guinea.
As for Salah and Mane, there is no replacing the contributions they make to the Reds’ starting XI, even if Klopp is authorised to make new signings in the winter window.
Up front, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino will need to deliver with the chances they are expected to receive and, if anyone can step up at crucial moments, it’s the Belgian.
Origi will forever be a cult hero at Anfield after his heroics against Barcelona in the Champions League. He can reinforce that with match-winning displays in January to keep Liverpool’s Premier League hopes alive.
Similarly, Minamino will need to prove to fans now why he was signed for the Reds. He has shown his brilliance in fits and bursts but a month of top displays could earn him more game time even when Salah and Mane are available.
Potential XI: Alisson, Robbo, van Dijk, Matip, Trent, Fabinho, Hendo, Thiago, Jota, Firmino, Origi.