The 2023-24 campaign has been a solid one thus far for the Reds. With a recent 1-1 draw with champions Manchester City, the club has shown that they aren’t too far off from previously reached heights. A key part of Liverpool’s success, as always, has been Mo Salah. The Egyptian King continues to be the Reds’ most dangerous attacking threat for the seventh season running.

Salah has racked up the best goal-scoring and assist numbers for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season. While Mo has been sensational, per his lofty standard, we must talk about the massive elephant in the room. Liverpool will lose our talismanic Egyptian King at a critical point of the season due to the African Cup of Nations.

READ MORE: Premier League Contenders or Pretenders? by John Carl Bolido
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A Tough Fixture List

The AFCON tournament is set to begin on January 13th. It concludes roughly a month later on February 11th. The hope is that Liverpool has had sufficient time to plan for the absence of their most influential attacker.

ASTV Shorts: AFCON Concerns

Obviously, the length of Salah’s absence would entirely depend on Egypt’s qualification for the later rounds. The worst-case scenario is if Egypt goes all the way to the final. In that instance, Mo could miss around seven games total. These would include a potential League Cup semi-final over two legs (if Liverpool qualifies) and an FA Cup fourth-round tie. In the league, he’d miss Chelsea coming to Anfield and the Reds’ trip to the Emirates to take on Arsenal. Not exactly a walk in the park which is why the Reds would prefer to have all hands on deck.

In-House Mo Replacements

Considering the wealth of attacking options that Liverpool has at their disposal, the Reds surprisingly lack a nailed-on backup at Salah’s position. Ben Doak is one of the true right-wingers on the first team. But he’s still inexperienced and raw. To put him front and center against Chelsea and Arsenal would be a bit rough on the lad.

Luis Diaz can play serviceably in the position despite the Colombian preferring the opposite flank to cut in on his favored right foot. The same would go for Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo. Both are reliable goal-scoring threats and key buildup contributors, but neither favors the right side of the attack.

It’s a head-scratcher of a conundrum for Jurgen Klopp. Hopefully, he’s already found a solution to it whether it be a temporary system change or a surprise acquisition.

Surprise January Swoop?

On that note of acquisitions, one thing to consider about this trying period is that it is within the span of the January transfer window. It is well known that Liverpool typically keeps their transfer cards relatively close to their chest. Nevertheless, this window may be a good time to spring a surprise, possibly to address the “No Mo” issue.

The past two windows felt as if they’d be rather docile, but in came Luis Diaz and then Cody Gakpo. Maybe this year we’ll get our January hat trick? Obviously, there are more pressing issues to address long term. Addressing the holding midfielder role is paramount. But another curveball transfer in January? I wouldn’t rule it out.

We’ll see what the Reds have in store for us in Mo’s absence, as that run of fixtures can be the difference between lifting silverware or ending the season in disappointment.

Another Monday of looking for answers as we look at the recent struggles but put all of it in perspective as we talk about the 35th anniversary and what it means to us
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