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How Africa Cup of Nations delay until 2022 boosts Liverpool’s hopes of retaining title


The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations has been postponed until 2022 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – coming as a major boost to newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp was set to see two of his most important stars, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, head off to the tournament halfway through their attempt to retain the title.

The Reds finally became champions last Thursday, with Chelsea’s 2-1 win over second-place Manchester City confirming their first league title in 30 years.


And the good news keeps on coming for Klopp, who will not be losing Mane or Salah, as well as midfielder Naby Keita, to the Africa Cup of Nations at the turn of the year.

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations being postponed means Jurgen Klopp will not lose Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane halfway through next season

The Confederation of African Football have confirmed the tournament, which was scheduled to take place in Cameroon between January 9 and February 6 of next year, will now go ahead in 2022.

Qualifying not yet being completed, along with the current dilemma of international travel amid the pandemic, means CAF have decided to go early with the postponement.


The tournament, won by Algeria last year, was due to be played between January 9 and February 6 of next year

The tournament has often clashed with domestic football over the years, although last time out a summer event in Egypt was tested instead.

However, competition organisers decided to move AFCON back to its usual January-February slot in 2021 due to concerns over climate and feasibility.

That is not expected to change when it eventually goes ahead in 2022.

Klopp was heavily critical of AFCON being moved back to its January-February slot, having been tried out in the summer last year

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Klopp described the decision to move the tournament back to its previous January-February slot as a “catastrophe”.

“The African Cup of Nations going back to January is, for us, a catastrophe,” he said.

“We will not sell Sadio, Mo or Naby (Keita) now because they have a tournament in January and February – of course not.

The Reds boss would also have lost Naby Keita if it went ahead

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“But if you have to make a decision about bringing in a player, it is a massive one because before the season you know for four weeks you don’t have them.

“That’s a normal process and as a club you have to think about these things.”


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