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    AFCON confirmation boost but Matip to sit out season – Liverpool FC Roundup – Liverpool FC

    Liverpool are already promising they’ll go hard again next season in search of yet more trophies, which is absolutely phenomenal to consider.

     

    AFCON postponed leaving Reds at full strength

    One of the big pressing issues surrounding Liverpool’s transfer market activities was not having enough forwards next January, when the Africa Cup of Nations was due to take place.

    After a few back-and-forth rumours in recent weeks, it has now been confirmed that the tournament will be postponed and played at a later date, presumably the following year although that’s not yet official.

    Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah all stood to depart and miss games at a key time for the Reds.

    Now they’ll all be available throughout the year, barring the obvious injury caveat, giving Jurgen Klopp maximum attacking options and less pressure to invest this summer to fill the potential void.

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    Still doesn’t mean we definitely won’t buy, of course…

     

    Matip out for season so a new opportunity arises

    However, for one (former) African international there’s rather less positive news.

    Joel Matip, now retired from Cameroon duty, will miss the rest of the Reds’ campaign through injury.

    He departed the match against Everton early after suffering an impact on what Klopp said was his big toe, and it appears serious enough for him to miss the coming weeks.

    With the title secured it won’t have any meaningful impact on 2019/20, but there could be ramifications going forward.

    Dejan Lovren is widely expected to depart, so we could see game time at centre-back for teenager Ki-Jana Hoever, and if he performs well Klopp will need to decide whether he’s capable of being a squad option next year.

    If not, with Lovren probably off and Matip frequently sidelined, it could well be that a new face comes in to beef up the back line. No, not Koulibaly!

     

    Past, present, future

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 28, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and AFC Bournemouth's manager Eddie Howe during the Football League Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    Liverpool have made a few big calls over the last decade, but appointing Klopp was the best. Looks to have been a close-run thing!

     

    Quickfire LFC news

    NORWICH, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 15, 2020: Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Norwich City FC and Liverpool FC at Carrow Road. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    • Out-on-loan Taiwo Awoniyi has spoken of his ‘near-death’ experience after a head injury in a match recently (Goal)
    • A report confirms what we all already knew: the Reds are not in for Koulibaly (Sky Sports)
    • Jamie Redknapp says Mane’s consistency since joining the Reds has proven people wrong (Goal)
    • And Andy Robertson says his successes at Liverpool can boost the morale and mentality in the Scotland national team (BBC)

     

    Around the Prem

    BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 3, 2018: Burnley's goalkeeper Nick Pope during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester City FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    • Timo Werner has said he had “several” offers outside of Liverpool and Chelsea for moves this summer, despite, you know, not actually having one from Anfield (Goal)
    • Benjamin Mendy has demanded City play at their best level against the Reds when they meet in midweek and perhaps he should have considered asking for this about 30 games earlier (MCFC)
    • Nick Pope is back ahead of Alisson after keeping a clean sheet last night – it’s now 13-12 in the race for the Golden Gloves. Quick reminder that Jordan Pickford is apparently England’s finest (PL)
    • And Jack Grealish is now wanted by Man City as well as Man United, so neither must have been watching him play since the restart (Telegraph)

     

    Stupid rumour of the day

    Arsenal, short of money and quality, apparently want to pay over £30m for Wout Weghorst, 27. If they sign him to replace Aubameyang we can confidently rule them out of title contention for the next three years or so at least.

     

    Tweet of the day

     

    What we’re reading

    Jack de Menezes delves into a report in the Independent which has found an underlying and inherent racial bias in football commentary.

    And Goal’s Tom Maston looks at Antoine Griezmann’s Barcelona struggles and asks whether he can overcome the flop tag.

     

    Worth watching tonight

    Torino v Lazio at 6:30pm in Italy; Brighton v Man United at 8:15pm in the Prem…and the big one, Barcelona v Atletico Madrid in LaLiga at 9pm.

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