‘AFCON means Liverpool need more firepower’ – Salah and Mane cover required, says Murphy

Sadio Mane Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2019-20
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The former Reds midfielder expects Jurgen Klopp to dip into the market for attacking talent despite having already passed on Timo Werner

Liverpool will need to dip into the transfer market for “additional firepower” when the transfer window re-opens, says Danny Murphy, with the Africa Cup of Nations set to see them lose Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for a long period in 2020-21.

The 2021 AFCON in Cameroon was initially due to be held in the summer of 2021, but it has been rescheduled and will now run from January 9 to February 6.

Egypt and Senegal – the respective nations of Salah and Mane – will be among those setting their sights on the ultimate prize if qualification is secured.

Their presence on international duty will force Liverpool to find cover in domestic action, with Jurgen Klopp facing quite the selection poser.

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He had been expected to join the race for Timo Werner once it became clear that the Germany international striker would be leaving RB Leipzig, but Chelsea have secured the prized signature.

Liverpool continue to lack depth in their attacking ranks as a result, with Murphy expecting that issue to be addressed at some stage over the coming weeks.

The former Reds midfielder told talkSPORT: “I do think Liverpool could do with some additional firepower, especially as next season there will be the Africa Cup of Nations. That’s going to mean that both Salah and Mane are going to be missing for a chunk, a big chunk of the games.

“I would be amazed if when the window does open, or when the season ends, that Liverpool don’t sign someone in attacking areas.

“But you also have to remember that for two years they got to the Champions League final and got 97 points last season and are going to win it this year, so who are we to argue with how he’s [Klopp] balanced his squad.”

Liverpool resisted the urge to gamble on Salah’s fitness when returning to action after a coronavirus-enforced break with a goalless derby draw across Stanley Park at Everton.

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A lack of spark there highlighted the need for further options to be found, but Klopp’s side are still easing their first to a first English top-flight title in 30 years – with there still eight games left for them to take in.

“I think Liverpool will inevitably win the title,” added Murphy. “The fact that everybody wants it done so quickly, or the desire of everyone associated with Liverpool wanting to get it done quickly is obvious because it’s been 30 years. It’s going to happen.

“You’d think they will beat Palace on Wednesday and it makes the Man City away game [on July 2] really interesting because Pep and those Man City players are not going to want Liverpool winning it there.”