Can we talk about the trip to Chelsea as a ‘six-pointer’? Probably.
Liverpool and the Blues will meet at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as the two sides look to recover from poor results recently obtained and will look to keep the distance between themselves and Manchester City at the top of the table as low as they possibly can.
Of course, the game at the beginning of the new year will certainly have plenty of worldwide interest, as you can imagine sports bettors from around the world including New Zealand will be heading to sites like 1xbet NZ to place their bets on what they believe will happen when the two sides.
Thankfully for Jurgen Klopp, he and his squad has recently received a timely boost that will mean he will have a couple of his strongest players available to select. On the flip side, the news will also mean Chelsea do, too.
This is because the players who are set to represent their players at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations can stay at their club for the game before travelling south and to Cameroon where they will feature for their nations.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita will each be available – although Keita’s tournament could end up being rather costly if he does not win it for Guinea – as an agreement has been reached to allow for them to play and depart later.
According to a report by AP News’ Rob Harris, FIFA deputy secretary general Mattias Grafstrom had confirmed a “commitment of solidarity” to clubs with the decision, after they had come under pressure to do so from the World Leagues Forum.
“CAF has decided that for those players who have official club matches between the 27 December 2021 and 3 January 2022, the participating member associations in question are to be directed that these players may remain with their clubs to participate in these matches and be released after the last match during this period,” Grafstrom said in a statement.
Although the players are seemingly now available for the game against Chelsea, they will still be unavailable for a number of fixtures, with around five matches potentially being missed. This could be more or less, though, depending on the outcome of their tournament or the condition they arrive back at Anfield in.
The competition is set to run until 6 February, which means games against Arsenal, Shrewsbury, Arsenal, Brentford and Crystal Palace could all be missed, whilst the match against Leicester City on 10 February could also be a doubt. Salah will want to be available for that game, though, after missing his penalty just days ago at the King Power Stadium.
Nonetheless, with Salah, Mane and Keita all available to play against Chelsea, Klopp has received his Christmas bonus for this year!