Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: Ferdinand - Losing Mane, Salah to AFCON could be a problem for Liverpool

Ferdinand - Losing Mane, Salah to AFCON could be a problem for Liverpool

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah

Rio Ferdinand believes a number of disruptions could hinder Liverpool in their quest to bounce back and reclaim the glory of the 2019/20 campaign.

The Reds head into the 2021/22 campaign looking for a much better showing than last term. While they finished third, a host of injuries and a miserable run of form set them back.

Indeed, ending with a 10-match unbeaten run helped propel them back up the table from a lowly eighth.

Liverpool struggled through last season without first-choice centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. They have returned, but Van Dijk's anterior cruciate ligament issue can be a career-changing one.

Meanwhile, manager Jurgen Klopp has fresh defensive injury concern with Andy Robertson's ankle injury. In midfield, Georginio Wijnaldum has left for Paris Saint-Germain.

Speaking on his FIVE YouTube channel, Ferdinand admitted concern for Liverpool's team this season.

On Anfield ever-present Wijnaldum, he said: "It's massive. The legs, the energy – he was the engine in there.

"Van Dijk and Gomez, we don't know how they'll recover. Midfield is an important part. Their midfield was based on energy, legs, intensity.

"Yes they have quality but it's not possession based. It was fast and up and at them. It was about transition – losing the ball and retrieving the ball. Getting up and pressing teams.

Jurgen Klopp and departing Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool, May 2021

"Can they do that now with the players they've got in there? Robertson is a big miss for Liverpool."

However, Liverpool's potential concerns for the new season do not stop there.

Up front last term, Senegal international Sadio Mane struggled for form while Egypt's Mohamed Salah scored 31 goals in 51 games.

Salah's form has not posed any problems but Klopp would rather have Mane in his poor form than not all. That may not be the case in January, though, when the Africa Cup of Nations gets underway.

"You know what, is it AFCON this year as well?" he said.

"It's AFCON so they'll miss Mane and Salah at some point.

"Wow. I think it's a big year for Liverpool and I'm a bit concerned for them in a lot of ways – they're relying on the same front three again."

Liverpool do also have Diogo Jota in their attacking ranks and he has enjoyed strong form, injury aside.

Takumi Minamino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have had strong pre-seasons, but Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi both have links with transfers away.