In pictures: Liverpool v Leicester
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Liverpool are preparing to lose both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations in January, but Jurgen Klopp has been handed a surprose boost as the transfer window draws near.
Liverpool have been back to their best this season and one major factor in their dominance has been the incredible form of Mohamed Salah once more.
Sadio Mane has also got back amongst the goals after a slight slump last season, as Liverpool lead the Premier League tally for goals scored, with 50 in just 18 games.
Liverpool’s season will be disrupted however, as both Salah and Mane are heading off to represent their sides in the Africa Cup of Nations which begins on January 9, handing Jurgen Klopp a major shortage in attack.
The Liverpool boss has been given a huge boost though, which could be extremely valuable for his side.
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Previously it was expected that Liverpool would be without their African stars for the entire month of January, but it has now been confirmed that players set to be released for the African Cup of Nations can be delayed by clubs.
With the tournament kicking off on January 9 in Cameroon, the delay will now allow clubs to field their stars up until January 3, and then they must join up with their national teams.
Although the delay may seem rather minimal, it’s massive for Liverpool, as now both Salah and Mane will be able to play against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on January 2, in what could be a major scrap as both sides look to keep chase with Manchester City at the top of the table.
It’s also pivotal for Liverpool’s business in the upcoming transfer window too, as it gives the club even more time to make a decision over potential moves that they could make to provide cover in January.
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Liverpool are just three points off City in second, but with the league as competitive as ever, there is no room for error if they wish to secure their Premier League title.
With Salah and Mane set to be out for a month, Liverpool’s main goal scorers will both be temporarily unavailable, leaving all of responsibility on the shoulders of Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota, as well as Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino should Klopp trust his fringe stars.
Liverpool have been linked with a move for another forward to provide cover in attack, and also help contribute for the future with the Reds still currently involved in every competition, meaning that squad depth is essential.
The small delay not only allows Liverpool to be at full strength against Chelsea, it gives Klopp an extra week to asses his options and if needed, make a more calculated decision.
One of the many names that has been linked with a move to Anfield is Luis Diaz, and KIopp has been able to get a good look at the FC Porto star.
Liverpool played Porto both home and away in this seasons Champions League, and although Diaz was on the losing side on both occasions, the Colombian starred at Anfield despite an underwhelming display from his team.
A January move has been plunged into doubt though as Porto are reluctant to sell mid-season, and would demand upwards of £50m for their forward.
However, with the Colombian on a relatively low salary compared to the riches of the Premier League, a move for Diaz wouldn’t make too much of a dent in Liverpool’s wage budget, which would leave more to offer Salah who is yet to sign a new deal.
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