Jurgen Klopp insists Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah will fly to Ghana 24 hours before Friday’s FA Cup Merseyside derby against Everton with his full support.
Senegal international Mane will travel with Reds team-mate Salah as both are on the shortlist for the Confederation of African Football’s player of the year award.
However, with Salah an injury doubt for the game, as is Philippe Coutinho, the importance of Mane has become greater in the short term than that of new £75million signing Virgil van Dijk, and it was highlighted in the 2-1 win at Burnley.
Mane scored a brilliant opener – only his second Premier League strike since August – and may have to play a key role against Everton.
However, Klopp – in understanding the importance of the awards – will not prevent him from travelling to Africa.
“Sadio is unbelievably important for us. He is strong, quick, so many things. He scores a goal like this and it is like, ‘Wow’,” said Klopp, who saw defender Ragnar Klavan snatch a stoppage-time winner after Burnley’s Johann Berg Gudmundsson had equalised in the 87th minute.
“We have everything organised. We have two of the three best African players in our squad. We have to show them respect.
“If it had been a matchday they wouldn’t have asked. We sleep in a hotel, they sleep in a plane. That is all the difference.
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“If Mo is not fit, it will not be for that (travelling). For our side, it is just a sign of respect.
“I had (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang (at Borussia Dortmund) and there is nothing more important than to go there.”