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Klopp wishes Salah ill luck at the 2023 AFCON

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Klopp is unconcerned about Salah's likely move

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp disclosed on Friday that he isn’t wishing Mohamed Salah too much luck in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as the Reds prepare for a vital stretch of games without their leading scorer.

Salah is in Ivory Coast with Egypt for the event, while Japan captain Wataru Endo is in Qatar for the Asian Cup, with both players anticipated to advance far in their respective championships.

That could mean they won’t return until the second week of February, but Klopp stated he sent them away this week without wishing them well.

“I said if I wish you good luck, it would be a lie,” Klopp said ahead of Liverpool’s FA Cup third-round tie at Arsenal on Sunday.

“From a personal point of view, I would be happy if they went out on the group stage, but that’s probably not possible. They can go on and win it.

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“So it was ‘Good luck and come back healthy’. We have to deal with it, and we will deal with it. I am pretty positive that we will find a way.”

Klopp does not have a good alternative for Salah, who plays on the right side of his attack and has 18 goals this season in all competitions.

Dominik Szoboszlai, a midfielder, was mentioned as a possible alternative; however, he has been ruled out for at least two matches due to a hamstring injury suffered in the New Year’s Day triumph over Newcastle.

But Klopp, whose team currently leads the Premier League, believes Liverpool can cover the void left by Salah.

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“I think we played against West Ham (in last month’s League Cup quarter-final) without Mo on that side, and Harvey Elliott played there,” he said.

“We have different offensive options who can all play that wing in a different way. Nobody else can play like Mo; it is not possible—we just have to use the boys with their skills.

“Do we want to play without Mo? No. In the past, we didn’t have to do it often, but we always found a way.

“But we play Arsenal, and you can lose to Arsenal with Mo Salah, so it’s possible to lose to them without him.”

Klopp predicted a difficult January, despite the fact that there are fewer Premier League games owing to a mid-season player break.

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Liverpool’s game at the Emirates comes just two weeks after the title-chasing teams drew 1-1 at Anfield in the Premier League, and it will be followed on Wednesday by the first leg of their League Cup semi-final against Fulham.

“Some teams obviously don’t play that often in January,” he said. “We don’t have that; we have now, with the semi-final, a proper rhythm.

“I think a re-match against Arsenal would really not be helpful; that’s how it is, because it just doesn’t fit in, would kill the winter break, stuff like this.”

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