Liverpool fear lengthy Mane injury absence as swelling worse than expected

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Jurgen Klopp had hoped to have an ETA by now, but swelling has obstructed medical scans

Liverpool could be without star man Sadio Mane for several weeks, according to widespread reports, as doctors have thus far been unable to determine the severity of the knee injury he picked up in a challenge with Leighton Baines in the Merseyside derby.

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Reds boss Jurgen Klopp had hoped for swift test results following the clash in order to determine whether the in-form forward would be available for the Anfield side's Premier League title race run in.

Due to the severity of the swelling on Mane's knee, however, doctors have been unable to carry out effective scans which would determine whether the Senegalese star will be fit to feature in the Reds' battle to finish in the top four.

Liverpool have been buoyed by the return of Coutinho in recent weeks, but injuries to key players such as Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson already have them on the back foot, while a record of one win in seven games while Mane was at the Africa Cup of Nations is cause for concern.

One benefactor of the current situation at Anfield, however, is Belgian attacker Divock Origi, who has stated that he is ready to step up and become a key figure for the Merseyside outfit.

“I’m ready” he said, “I always said that I’m ready to be an important player for the team. 

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“I really believe it. I’m not just an option for the future, I’m an option for now.

“I hope I can play a big part in the end of the season.”


HOW LONG IS MANE OUT FOR?


Sadio Mane Liverpool

Liverpool had hoped to know by Tuesday when Mane would be able to return for the Reds, but they must wait for his swelling to recede to make definitive estimations on recovery time.

Best case scenario, it could just be badly bruised and Mane is back in action before the end of the month.

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However, there are reportedly fears within the club that he'll be sidelined for the remainder of Liverpool's season, which could deal a devastating blow to their hopes of a top-four finish.

The club are relatively certain that he's not picked up a cruciate ligament injury, which could have ruled him out for the rest of 2017.


LIVERPOOL'S STATS WITHOUT MANE


Sadio Mane, Liverpool

There's no question that Liverpool have depended on Mane's performances in 2016-17, with his absence during the AFCON leading to a remarkably poor run of form.

Liverpool have played eight games without Mane in the squad this season and won only one of them, a scraped 1-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup.

Mane has only not been in the starting line-up for the Reds four times this season and they failed to win on each occasion.

With Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all close behind them in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, a drop-off in form could ruin their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League in 2017-18.

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