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‘Liverpool will start season without Salah & Mane’ – AFCON will take its toll, says Lauren

7:06 PM MYT 21/06/2019
Mohamed Salah Sadio Mane Liverpool 2018-19
The former Cameroon defender believes international competition over the summer will pose selection problems for Premier League sides

Liverpool will be without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for the start of the Premier League season, claims Lauren, with Africa Cup of Nations duty set to delay their return to domestic duty.

Two men who earned a share of the Golden Boot in 2018-19 are readying themselves for international action this summer.

Salah is eyeing continental glory with Egypt on home soil, while Sane will be leading the charge for Senegal.

Both nations are expected to go deep into the competition and a final in Cairo is not due to be held until July 19.

With that in mind, two key figures in Jurgen Klopp’s plans may be forced to sit out the early stages of the 2019-20 campaign back at Anfield.

Former Cameroon international Lauren, who took in spells with Arsenal and Portsmouth during his career, told bwin of the problems facing Liverpool: “Whatever happens, Liverpool will need to start the season without Salah and Mane as they will need a good couple of weeks to rest and recuperate, otherwise their level will drop during the season.

“Players will be mentally and physically exhausted and will need a few weeks to recuperate before heading into the new Premier League season.

“If they don’t get the rest, there will be a chance that their Premier League campaign will be impacted by a slow start as the players are just too tired to play – this could be trouble for Liverpool as both Salah and Mane will likely be involved in the latter stages of the Africa Cup of Nations.”

While warning of potential fatigue at club level, Lauren is not expecting two Champions League winners to be short of sharpness with their respective countries.

He added: “The likes of Salah and Mane have played an unbelievable amount of football over the past two seasons, but tiredness will not be a major factor for Salah and Mane in the Africa Cup of Nations. What they lack in physical ability, they will make up for in their mentality going into the competition.

“Coming off the back of a Champions League win will compensate for any tiredness and both players will attack this new challenge with a winning mentality which will be interesting to see if Senegal and Egypt play each other. Both players will be confident that they are physically fit and able to win the tournament for their countries.”

Landing Cup of Nations glory would help to further enhance the respective reputations of Salah and Mane, with Lauren conceding that they are already among the finest African talents to have graced the Premier League.

“It’s impossible to pick the best ever African player to grace the Premier League – you cannot choose just one player when Africa has given the Premier League so much talent,” added the ex-Gunners defender.

“You look at players like Kolo Toure, Didier Drogba and countless others and it is impossible to choose between them. You also have to look at people like Salah and Mane and see that they are amazing footballers but there have been so many before them.”