Sadio Mane was withdrawn from Senegal’s World Cup qualifier against Togo and it should serve as a stark warning to Jurgen Klopp ahead of AFCON.
While he wasn’t at his best last season, Mane has returned to his highest level this season and has been a thorn in Liverpool’s opponents’ sides.
In all competitions, the former Southampton star, who the Reds paid £34m to sign, has scored eight goals and has offered Jurgen Klopp’s team pace and penetration from the left flank.
With the news that he suffered an injury and was taken off as a precaution, Liverpool must now realize the severity of going into the New Year without Mane and Mohamed Salah up front, while Naby Keita will be heading to the tournament as well.
Senegal coach Alio Cisse said after the game: “He is an important player for the team, we took him off as a precaution and there is nothing serious.”
For the month they will be away, Klopp will only have Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino and, if any one of them suffers an injury before then, the situation will be even more serious.
Liverpool’s squad depth in midfield and attack is not up to scratch, with the options out wide particularly weak compared to the likes of Chelsea and the Manchester clubs.
Thankfully, it seems Mane’s issue was minor but it is a stark warning to the Reds and they need to make a January signing to cope with it.