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Salah, Mane, Keita’s Afcon departure dates not in Liverpool’s hands - Klopp

08:30 GMT 04/12/2021
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita of Liverpool.
The German tactician discusses keeping the three African players for the Chelsea league game

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted the departure of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita for the Africa Cup of Nations is not in the club's hands.

The 29-year-old Salah will lead Egypt at Afcon, set for Cameroon from January 9, Mane will feature for Senegal while Keita will turn out for Guinea.

As per the Fifa regulations, the three players are scheduled to leave after Liverpool’s Premier League match against Leeds United on Boxing Day, but Klopp has revealed they are negotiating with the football associations over the possibility of delaying that date.

“It’s not decided yet, definitely. I would say I’m an optimistic person, so I hope so but it’s not written in stone yet,” Klopp said as quoted by the club’s official website.

“It’s not completely in our hands obviously – and no problem with that – but of course we hope. ‘Confidence’ is maybe not the right word for it.”

Salah and Mane have been a revelation for Liverpool in this campaign and it has seen them help the Reds to stay third on the 20-team table with 31 points from 14 matches.

The Pharaoh has managed 13 goals from 14 appearances in the top-flight so far this season while Mane has contributed seven goals from the same number of appearances.

Should they leave after the Leeds game, it means the three players will miss matches against Leicester City and Chelsea at the end of the hectic festive period.

Egypt are drawn in Group D of the competition alongside Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, and Sudan, while Senegal are in Group B alongside Malawi, Keita’s Guinea, and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Klopp has confirmed Keita and Joe Gomez have recovered from injuries but they will not be ready to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

“[They were involved in] big parts [of the session]. It was really nice to see,” Klopp said on Keita and Gomez.

“We didn’t let them do the full session because medical told us not to do that, but they looked brilliant.

“They now use the next two or three days to do the stuff they have to while being part of team training – and then I think from Sunday on, if nothing happens between now and then, they should be in contention again.”