Premier League

Salah and Mane Afcon departures could cost Liverpool the title – Agbonlahor

10:53 AM GMT 06/12/2021
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane - Liverpool
The former England striker warns the Reds to get replacements for the African duo or else it will cost them Premier League glory

Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has warned Liverpool the departures of strikers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations will cost them the title.

The two African players will travel to represent Egypt and Senegal respectively, for the competition which is set to run from January 9 to February 6 in Cameroon.

Salah and Mane have been pillars for Liverpool as they have scored a combined effort of 28 goals in the Premier League.

Agbonlahor, who managed 341 appearances for Villa and scored 76 goals, feels Liverpool will have to make signings in the upcoming transfer window in order to replace Salah and Mane.

“I think that’s going to cost Liverpool the title [Mane and Salah leaving],” Agbonlahor said as quoted by talkSPORT. “Losing them players for the number of games they are away for.

“You can’t lose Salah and Mane for four to six games when you’ve got the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City who have got so much squad depth they can bring in quality players into their team.

“So for me, they’ve got to [purchase players in January], they’ve got to.

“You look at Diego [Jota], yes fantastic player but Firmino has injury worries, Divock [Origi] when he starts, he’s not really the same player as when he comes on as a sub.

“So they’ve got problems there Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp might have someone lined-up already.”

We are yet to know how many games Salah and Mane could miss for Liverpool. This will depend on communication between Klopp, Egypt and Senegal. They could miss a minimum of two matches, with other games expected in the League Cup and FA Cup.

In a recent interview, Klopp admitted the departure of Salah, Mane, and Naby Keita for Afcon was not in the club’s hands.

“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.

“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 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.