Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler claims that the ongoing Copa America & Africa Cup of Nations tournaments could pose a huge threat to the start of Liverpool's new campaign.
Both competitions take place well into July with the AFCON not reaching its conclusion until July 19, three weeks prior to matchday one of the new Premier League campaign.
The Reds have a number of high profile players taking part in the respective events including the influential front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, and Fowler has let his feelings be known on the matter.
Writing in his column for the Sunday Mirror he said (via the Daily Star): "
“There is a good chance that Mane and Salah will be involved in the last four – that will surely see them miss the start of the season.
“It’s worse for Liverpool, too, because Salah is playing in his home country and there is a huge weight of expectation for him to deliver.”
The norm for most squads tends to be a three-week break following an international competition before easing a player back into pre-season training, this break would almost guarantee the absence of Mane and Salah for the opening Premier League game if they progress any further through the AFCON than they are now.
On top of this, if Brazil manages to reach the Copa America final then Firmino and Alisson could also be struggling for fitness ahead of the opener versus Norwich City.
It is certainly not an ideal situation for Klopp and his backroom staff in their preparation for what looks to be another title challenge in the 2019/20 campaign, however, they would have been well aware of the worst-case scenario months ago and it may well give the opportunity to Champions League hero Divock Origi among others to impress and cement their first team place down early.
Source : 90min