Salah and Mane are set to join Egypt and Senegal respectively for the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on January 9. If the two countries qualify for the semifinals, Salah and Mane could miss games at the start of February as well. The final of the AFCON is scheduled to take place on February 6.
The Reds will have to look to their bench to provide cover for Salah and Mane when the duo depart for national duty.
Speaking to the Express (via Liverpool Echo), Emile Heskey acknowledged the difference Salah and Mane have made for Jurgen Klopp's side in recent times. However, he reckons the Merseyside club have the depth to cope with the duo's absence.
“You’re missing someone for a month - that’s goals, assists, the ability that Salah gives you is going to be a huge miss,” he said. “Sometimes you rely on Mane if Salah is not there, but then he’s going away. It’s going to be tough, but someone will have to step up for them.”
Heskey added that Minamino, who scored in Liverpool's 4-0 win against Arsenal last weekend, could step up to the plate. He also feels Origi could be a player to watch out for. The Belgian recently found the back of the net in the Reds' 3-2 defeat at West Ham United.
“[Takumi] Minamino scored on the weekend [against Arsenal], so he is another one who could possibly step up. Divock [Origi] hasn’t really cemented a place, but he can be relied on - I don’t know about a full season - but he can be relied on.”
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have been on fire for Liverpool this season
Liverpool have started the 2021-22 season in fantastic form. Klopp's side are currently third in the Premier League, four points behind leaders Chelsea after 12 matches. They have also secured their place in the Champions League knockout rounds, winning all five of their group matches so far.
A big reason for Liverpool's successful run has been the form of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Salah, in particular, has been incredible, netting 17 goals and providing six assists in 17 matches in all competitions. Meanwhile, Mane has scored nine times and provided one assist in 17 outings.
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While their departure for the Africa Cup of Nations is not great news for Klopp and Liverpool, the club will hope to secure some good results before the duo leave. The Reds face Southampton later today (November 27) before taking on Everton in the Merseyside derby in midweek.