The Reds are set to be hit the hardest at the start of 2021 with three of their key players likely to be in Cameroon rather than on Merseyside. Jurgen Klopp’s men will be without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for the start of 2021, with the Africa Cup of Nations set to be moved back to the winter.
The AFCON was held in the summer for the first time in its history last year, which came as a relief to clubs in England.
Previously, they were forced to release players for the international duty midway through the domestic campaign, with Mane missing seven games in 2016/17 while he was with Senegal in Gabon.
The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, it revealed, will kick off on January 9, with the final to be played on February 6. The dates had been changed at their own request “for weather reasons.”
The tournament was scheduled to take part in Cameroon in the summer of 2021, however, the country’s climate forced the Confederation of African Football to change the dates of competition.
In December, CAF president Ahmad Ahmad expressed his concerns over a summer tournament in Cameroon, with tropical conditions set to bring heavy rain throughout.
“When we took the decision to move the Africa Cup of Nations to June, which we did for the last tournament in Egypt, we have always said that we need to have some flexibility over the dates,”
“This is because of the different climatic conditions in the continent. I don’t know why the media has forgotten that this was discussed in detail, at the 2017 CAF symposium that we had in Morocco.
“In my view, it is not possible, because of the climatic conditions in Cameroon, to stage the Africa Cup of Nations in June and July.
“This is clear, so we must make a decision on the date.”
In this case, Liverpool could see Salah, Mane and Keita report for international duty at this time next year, which could impact their involvement in the Premier League and Champions League.
On the other side of the story, Liverpool isn’t the only club that will be affected by the move back to a January start date. Arsenal would lose both Gabon international forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ivory Coast star, Nicolas Pepe. While Manchester City would also be without Riyad Mahrez.