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Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp makes worrying Mohamed Salah claim despite early AFCON return | Football | Sport

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claims that the Africa Cup of Nations final is still weighing on Mohamed Salah’s mind, despite the Egyptian’s return to Reds training on Tuesday. Team-mate Sadio Mane lifted the trophy with Senegal at Salah’s expense, after a dramatic penalty shootout decided the final. 

Klopp’s attacking duo have spent the past few weeks battling it out at AFCON. 

And both stayed the course, coming face to face in the final which ended 0-0 after extra time, but was ultimately decided by Mane’s superb penalty. 

The victor received a hero’s welcome, along with his Senegal team-mates, when they returned to their homeland following their maiden AFCON triumph. 

As such, Mane will not feature against Leicester City on Thursday, but Salah will have had two training sessions under his belt so may be in contention to start. 

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“He is happy to be back but is disappointed as well,” explained Klopp.

“Yesterday, everyone could see that he still has the final in his mind.

“Sadio is not back yet. We said it’s such a big thing for Senegal and we didn’t want to stress anywhere there by bringing Sadio back.

“I think it will be tonight [Wednesday] he is back.”

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Indeed, both Salah and Mane will be forced to transition from one intense environment to another, with Liverpool still in the midst of a Premier League title bid. 

They marked their winter break return with an encouraging 3-1 victory over Cardiff City in the FA Cup on Sunday, in which Harvey Elliott scored on his long-awaited comeback from injury. 

Despite their poor patch of form, Leicester are set to pose a sterner test altogether with pressure mounting on former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers. 

Elliott’s sharp showing could be rewarded with a start, while January signing Luis Diaz could also be granted more minutes after setting up Takumi Minamino on his debut. 

“I liked his [Diaz’s] contributuon when he came on in the Cardiff,” added Klopp.

“Yesterday, he enjoyed his training session a lot. I’m not sure I ever saw a player smiling so constantly during a rondo.

“We can see he fitted in during the last game, he played exactly as we wanted him to. There’s a lot more to come.”

The German also confirmed that Jordan Henderson is suffering with a slight back problem, but otherwise he has the luxury of a fully-fit squad for Thursday evening’s clash, even if Salah’s disappointment means that morale could be better. 





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