The prospect of a mid-season tournament in Cameroon had threatened to damage the Reds’ momentum, with the loss of Salah and Mane in particular a big blow.
Liverpool were set to lose their key forwards, who have already contributed 30 goals and 10 assists this season, along with their No. 8 for at least three games between January 9 and February 6.
That would have ruled them out for the clashes with Shrewsbury, Brentford and Crystal Palace, but the club were also facing the possibility of them missing the meetings with Leicester and Chelsea around the New Year.
However, it is now being widely reported that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) are due to announce the indefinite postponement of the tournament.
Liverpool journalist David Lynch, relaying word from Egyptian correspondent Ismael Mahmoud, writes that confirmation is due “imminently,” with “discussions taking place over possible compensation for hosts Cameroon.”
Lynch adds: “The European Clubs Association have written a letter to FIFA expressing concerns over the well-being of players scheduled to compete at the tournament.
“CAF [are] under huge pressure and postponement now looking the safest option.”
This follows a report from French outlet RMC Sport that took a similar line, also noting that unvaccinated players returning to the UK would be required to quarantine, missing further games.
Sources within the CAF, however, maintain that these claims are “fake news,” though the complexities of arranging compensation with Cameroon may have prompted this stance.
Mahmoud claims that the CAF are in talks with Cameroonian Football Federation president Samuel Eto’o at present, with there also a possibility of the tournament going ahead without players based in Europe.
Either way, this would benefit Liverpool as they would then see Salah, Mane and Keita not required to travel – though whether the players themselves would protest this remains to be seen.
It is a story that is likely to develop further throughout Wednesday, and is certainly worth keeping up with.