Liverpool will have to start their season without two of their star men as the African Cup of Nations takes its toll, claims Lauren.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will both take part in this years AFCON for Egypt and Senegal respectively and former Arsenal defender Lauren, who played in the tournament for Cameroon has revealed that the Reds will need to rest two of their key men as the season kicks off.
Naby Keita will also take part in the competition for Guinea but there are less expectations on his country compared to his Liverpool teammates.
Lauren, who took in spells with Arsenal and Portsmouth during his career, told bwin of the problems facing Liverpool: “Whatever happens, Liverpool will need to start the season without Salah and Mane as they will need a good couple of weeks to rest and recuperate, otherwise their level will drop during the season.
“Players will be mentally and physically exhausted and will need a few weeks to recuperate before heading into the new Premier League season.
“If they don’t get the rest, there will be a chance that their Premier League campaign will be impacted by a slow start as the players are just too tired to play – this could be trouble for Liverpool as both Salah and Mane will likely be involved in the latter stages of the Africa Cup of Nations.”
He added: “The likes of Salah and Mane have played an unbelievable amount of football over the past two seasons, but tiredness will not be a major factor for Salah and Mane in the Africa Cup of Nations. What they lack in physical ability, they will make up for in their mentality going into the competition.
“Coming off the back of a Champions League win will compensate for any tiredness and both players will attack this new challenge with a winning mentality which will be interesting to see if Senegal and Egypt play each other. Both players will be confident that they are physically fit and able to win the tournament for their countries.”
Salah and Mane were key for Liverpool this season as they lead them to a second-placed finish in the Premier League and the club’s 6th European Cup victory. The pair won the Golden Boot along with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
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