Confirmation that the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will be moved from the summer to January was bad news for Liverpool.
It means the Reds face the prospect of losing Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for a period of time midway through the 2020/21 campaign.
The tournament will be staged between January 9 and February 6 after being moved from its original June and July time slot due to weather conditions in Cameroon in the summer.
It’s not ideal for Liverpool. Salah and Mane are two of their most important players and they could suffer without their two forwards.
And worse still is that Salah could miss the start of next season owing to his international commitments, too.
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Egypt’s Under-23s coach Shawky Gharib has confirmed that he plans to include Salah as one of the three overage players he’s allowed to take to Tokyo, Japan, for this summer’s Olympic Games.
“We have to send a preliminary list of 50 players. Salah will be the first on the list as an official call-up," Gharib said on ON Sport TV, per Sky Sports.
The tournament begins on July 22 and the final will be played on Saturday, August 8, which is the same weekend that the current Premier League season began in 2019.
Salah will have the final say on his involvement at the Olympics, but he would miss Liverpool’s entire pre-season schedule if he chooses to travel to Tokyo.
He’d also presumably be given a period of rest upon his return, so he could miss the opening weeks of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.
Gharib will hold talks with Salah about his potential participation at the Olympics but Liverpool fans will be hopeful that he turns them down.
The Reds will have a Premier League title to defend. Any other commitments can be forgotten about.News Now - Sport News