Sadio Mane is set to return to Liverpool at an earlier date than initially expected following his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations.
The winger played a key part for his native Senegal as they reached the final of this summer’s tournament, but was unable to lead them to victory, as Algeria came out on top with a 1-0 win.
Mane, as a consequence of his country’s progress in Egypt, was believed to have been set for a later comeback date given his entitlement to a sufficient holiday period.
Fears had been raised that, as well as the Community Shield clash with Manchester City on August 4, he would miss Liverpool’s opening day fixture in the Premier League against Norwich City on August 9.
However, these concerns have been allayed by manager Jurgen Klopp, who has confirmed that Mane is expected to return on August 5, with the possibility of featuring on the Friday night against the newly-promoted Canaries.
As quoted by The Liverpool Echo, he said:
We now know Sadio will be back on the fifth (of August) and we can prepare the Norwich game as well. The boys are getting fitter and fitter. And the boys who come back should be fit, it’s a really short break. Then we have to work together.
How Mane could be replaced if he is unable to feature against Norwich
Shaqiri could be called upon to occupy the wide role, with Mane’s condition likely to be touch and go until the whistle blows.
Origi could slot into the front three, with either Roberto Firmino moving out wide or the Belgian himself taking up his position on the left.
Wilson has been utilised in pre-season and could be a left-field inclusion for Klopp.
Alternatively, the Reds could dip their toes into the transfer market this summer and add to their attacking ranks…