TEAM NEWS: Mane back to boost Liverpool against Chelsea

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The 24-year-old is a formidable option off the bench as the Reds host the division's pacesetters at Anfield in a decisive encounter

Sadio Mane goes straight back into Liverpool’s squad against Chelsea after returning from Africa Cup of Nations duty in the late hours of Monday night.

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Having missed seven club games while in Gabon, the Senegal international has been named among the substitutes as Jurgen Klopp’s side attempt to slash the comfortable gap the leaders possess at the top of the table while remedying their awful January form. 

Bar the absence of the speedster from the first 11, the Reds have selected their strongest possible XI with Nathaniel Clyne pushing past the pain barrier caused by an abdominal injury to start. 

Adam Lallana, the newly crowned England Player of the Year, also runs out from the off after sustaining a deep cut to his leg in the League Cup semi-final exit against Southampton.

Centre-back Joel Matip starts his first Premier League game since the 2-2 draw with West Ham on December 11.

Chelsea, meanwhile, prefer Willian to Pedro alongside Diego Costa and Eden Hazard up front as Antonio Conte's side look to maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the table.

Liverpool starting XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino

Liverpool subs: Karius, Klavan, Moreno, Lucas, Mane, Sturridge, Origi 

Chelsea starting XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Willian, Diego Costa, Hazard

Chelsea subs: Begovic, Terry, Zouma, Chalobah, Fabregas, Pedro, Batshuayi

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