Image source: USA Sipa
The Africa Cup of Nations 2021 is set to take place from January 9 until February 6 of 2022 and will be host by Cameroon.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in June and July 2021 but the CAF announced on 15 January 2020 that due to unpleasant climatic conditions during this period, it would take place from 9 January to 6 February 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic also affected the Africa Cup of Nations 2021, as it was moved for the second time to January 2022, whilst keeping the name 2021 Africa Cup of Nations for sponsorship purposes.
The competition will badly affect some European clubs and one of them is Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will be significantly affected as key men such as Mohamed Salah (Egypt) and Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Naby Keita (Guinea) will miss the January period of games due to joining their national teams in AFCON.
According to the Athletic, the rule states that players “must be released and start travel to their representative team” no later than the Monday in the week preceding the start of the tournament (Jan 9).
So December 27 is the date when the players would be required to leave.
During this period Liverpool have plenty of crucial matches, with the first one coming on December 28th, against Leicester City in the Premier League.
Chelsea clash is on January 2nd, while the Reds are also set to face Brentford and Crystal Palace in January.
On February 9th is another clash against Leicester.
Salah, Mane and Keita are essential for the Liverpool squad and with them gone in January, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi remain the ones to replace them.
Jota can replace Mane in the left wing, while Minamino might replace Salah in the right wing. Origi can also play in the both wings and might be a replacement as well.
The Reds’ trio can play on January 18th at the earliest, should they be knocked out at the group stage.