Liverpool have been boosted by the news that they won't lose Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita to the Africa Cup of Nations next season, and that could spark a change in transfer approach for Jurgen Klopp.
The newly-crowned Premier League champions have seen their ambitions to successfully defend their crown given a shot in the arm by the news that their African trio won't be needed by their countries next January, with the tournament in Cameroon instead pushed back a year.
Klopp had called the decision to move the tournament back to the European winter "a catastrophe" earlier this year, and suggested that it would make him think twice about signing more African players.
“We will not sell Sadio, Mo or Naby now because they have a tournament in January and February – of course not," he said in January this year before a Premier League clash against Manchester United.
"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. It doesn't help the players, for sure.”
The previous Africa Cup of Nations was held in Egypt last summer, so Liverpool weren't affected by the loss of the trio shortly after they'd won the Champions League.
Prior to that it was held in Gabon in January and February 2017, when the Reds – who hadn't yet signed Egypt's Salah and Guinea's Keita – suffered a huge dip in form when they lost Senegal star Mane for seven games, winning just one.
“The Africa Cup of Nations going back to January is, for us, a catastrophe," continued Klopp in January this year.
“On top of that we have absolutely no power so if we did say 'We don't let him go' the player is suspended. How is that possible that the company who pays the player cannot decide that the player has to stay or not?
“If you would say 'Let's play the African Cup of Nations but the players play in other countries, not in Africa, it still would be a great tournament but not the superstars but the superstars of tomorrow.
“I don't say that would be a solution for it but it is strange we have absolutely no say. We just sit there and plan the route, the flight for the boys, and say 'There you go, have the boys'.
“Nowadays it should not be like this. But I speak here about it and no-one will listen. It is like the biggest waste of time ever. The Moaner from Liverpool or whatever it is again, on track. As long as nothing changes I will say it all the time.”
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