Chelsea boost as Liverpool boss Klopp admits he’s not sure if Mane and Salah can play in title fight clash at Bridge

CHELSEA may have been given an early advantage in their New Year title clash with Liverpool with news lethal Reds duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane might be unavailable to play.

The two strikers along with midfield lynchpin Naby Keita might be on Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) duty during the heavyweight Prem clash at Stamford Bridge on January 2.

Liverpool boss Klopp might lose three of his best players because of Africa Cup of Nations call-upsCredit: Getty

Egypt talisman Salah has already bagged an astonishing 17 goals and eight assists for the second-placed Reds so far this season.

Senegal hero Mane has nine goals and one assist from 18 appearances for the club in this campaign.

And Guinea superstar Keita has chipped in with three goals and an assist while marshalling the Reds' midfield with a number of man-of-the-match displays.

AFCON will run from January 9 to February 6, with 40 Prem stars potentially being called up to play in Cameroon.

At this stage it is unclear exactly when in early January Prem teams will need to release their players for the tournament.

When asked if he knew whether his trio of stars would be available to face the Blues, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp told Anfield Watch: "Not really – it is still too early for that, but we are still talking about it."


Klopp's side moved to within a point of leaders Chelsea with a 4-0 dismissal of Southampton yesterday.

Salah and Mane started but did not score, with fellow front-man Diogo Jota carrying the scoring burden with two first-half goals.

The Blues have a game in hand on the Reds and could move four points clear at the top of the table with a win against manageress Manchester United this afternoon.

And Chelsea could lose players to AFCON too, with potential selections for Senegal's Edouard Mendy and Morocco's Hakim Ziyech.

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