Confirmed: Liverpool face losing Salah, Mane & Keita midway through 2021/22

Confirmed: Liverpool face losing Salah, Mane & Keita midway through 2021/22

Egypt have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations following their 1-1 draw away to Kenya, meaning Mo Salah will join Sadio Mane and Naby Keita at the tournament.

Salah started and played all 90 minutes in Nairobi on Thursday, with Hossam El Badry’s side needing at least a draw to guarantee their place in Cameroon in 2022.

The result puts Egypt top of Group G, and ensures they will progress to the Africa Cup of Nations, with neither Kenya nor Togo able to catch them or Comoros.

Senegal had already qualified prior to the March international break, while Guinea joined them on Wednesday, with Keita playing the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Mali.

Egypt now join Senegal, Guinea, Comoros, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Tunisia and hosts Cameroon in having booked their place at the tournament.

And with the Africa Cup of Nations returning to its usual dates between January and February, this means Liverpool stand to lose all three of Salah, Mane and Keita for up to month midway through next season.

That is, undoubtedly, a major blow to Jurgen Klopp‘s side, with the Africa Cup of Nations’ last iteration, in 2019, held in the summer, following the conclusion of the domestic season.

YEKATERINBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 24, 2018: Senegal's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Group H match against Japan at Yekaterinburg Arena. Sergei Bobylev/TASS

YEKATERINBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 24, 2018: Senegal's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Group H match against Japan at Yekaterinburg Arena. Sergei Bobylev/TASS

Liverpool were without Mane for seven games during the 2016/17 campaign, with the forward absent for the majority of January as he represented Senegal on their way to the quarter-finals in Gabon.

This time around it could be a bigger issue for the Reds, with two of their first-choice starters – including their leading goalscorer – along with an important midfielder set to travel to Cameroon.

Whether this informs Liverpool’s transfer activity in the summer window remains to be seen, but it is likely that another forward will be targeted to supplement the likes of Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota.

One player rumoured to be on the Reds’ radar, Salzburg’s Patson Daka, could also be at the tournament, with Zambia still hopeful of qualifying through Group H.

There is also the chance of Salah missing the start of next season, too, if he is part of the Egypt squad at the Olympics, but that seems unlikely at this stage.

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