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BT Sport pundits discuss the “huge” factor that could affect Liverpool’s title chances

Liverpool make it seven Premier League wins in a row.

Liverpool continued their strong start to the season today with a 2-0 win over Burnley, in front of the first capacity crowd at Anfield since March 2020 but according to the pundits on BT Sport today, the Africa Cup of Nations could provide a problem in a few months time.

It’s all going very swimmingly for The Reds at the start of the season, with their opening two victories combined with their five wins on the bounce at the end of the last campaign adding up to seven Premier League victories on the trot.

Key Liverpool pair are off to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Sadio Mane was among the goalscorers today and with Mohamed Salah netting against Norwich City last week, the pair’s importance to Jurgen Klopp’s side seems to be as high as ever.

That’s sure to be highlighted in January when both are expected to fly off to Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations, potentially missing some crucial games for their club at a pivotal point in the season.

This is something that was highlighted by Peter Crouch and Joe Cole during their punditry duties with BT Sport ahead of today’s match at Anfield.

liverpool africa cup of nations

Cole and Crouch in agreement on Africa Cup of Nations.

Cole expressed his feeling that Klopp will be looking to use peripheral members of his squad in preparation for the loss of big name stars, with the inclusion of 18-year-old Harvey Elliott today being put forward as an example.

“I think Jurgen’s decision to play Harvey Elliott today comes into that,” Cole said. “Because he’s going to need players to be able to play 10 or 15 games and to get used to playing for this club and playing in that style.

“When Mane and Salah go, it leaves a big hole. It happened to us at Chelsea, we had a lot of players playing in the Africa Cup of Nations and when these tournaments roll around, the manager has to prepare accordingly.

Crouch was in agreement, saying that the losing players to the Africa Cup of Nations is a “huge factor”.

“It’s something you don’t look at at the start of the season and these are huge players for Liverpool. They’re going to miss them, surely.”

You can hear what both ex-Liverpool players have to say on the subject towards the end of the below video.

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations was due to be held earlier this year but was pushed back due to the pandemic.

It is scheduled to take place from January 9th until February 6th 2022, a period in which Liverpool only play two Premier League games – at home to Brentford and away to Crystal Palace.

The period also covers the third and fourth rounds of the FA Cup and Liverpool are also sure to take the effects of travel into account when Salah and Mane return from their international exploits.

On New Year’s Day, eight days before the tournament kicks off, Liverpool are due to travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.

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