London (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp expects Liverpool to benefit from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane’s run to the Africa Cup of Nations final when they return to the Premier League title race.
Egypt forward Salah and Senegal winger Mane will clash in Sunday’s final in Cameroon just hours after Liverpool host Cardiff in the FA Cup fourth round.
Salah and Mane have made pivotal contributions in helping their countries get to the final.
Mane has scored three goals and provided two assists, with Salah netting twice with one assist.
Rather than draining them for the rest of a season in which Liverpool are still in contention for all four major trophies, Reds boss Klopp believes the leadership and passion they have shown in Cameroon will rub off on his squad.
“I watched a lot of games – and it was really obvious Naby (Keita) was the absolute leader in the Guinea team, the same for Sadio in the Senegal team and of course Mo with Egypt,” Klopp said.
“When the coach was not there any more (in Thursday’s semi-final) because he got a red card, before the penalty shoot-out you saw Mo talking, speaking and all these kind of things with the whole group.
“All the experience these boys in these situations get help us of course. Short-term I’m not sure, long-term definitely.
“It’s difficult obviously to get that far in a tournament, the pressure – they are the superstars so the pressure they had on their shoulders was massive.
“I’m really proud of the way they dealt with it. Now two of them are in the final and we will watch it definitely.”
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