Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is confident the club will cope fine without him when he leaves for the African Nations Cup next month.
The Reds’ eight-goal leading scorer and newest Merseyside derby hero has only three league matches left against Stoke, Manchester City and Sunderland before he joins up with Senegal.
He will be absent until at least January 23, which is Senegal’s final group game, and most likely longer as his country are expected to reach the knockout stages.
However, Liverpool will hope his absence will be offset by the returns of striker Daniel Sturridge, who made his comeback against Everton after a month out with a calf injury, and the impending return of Philippe Coutinho from ankle ligament damage.
Centre-back Joel Matip is also scheduled to shake off an ankle problem in the coming days.
“It will not be easy for me to go with Senegal next month,” said Mane. “I would love to carry on playing with my team-mates and help my team but I think they will understand because it is my country and it is my dream.
“I will be wishing them good luck but without me the team will be the same. They will cope”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved