Liverpool have all however navigated the Africa Cup of Nations with out a lot as a hiccup, a prospect that was not so plausible for some when the month of January arrived.
Previous to the departure of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, the trio had accounted for 42.8 p.c of Liverpool’s targets this season.
Salah and Mane’s output, specifically, along with the dynamism they carry to the wings led to an comprehensible stage of concern for what would unfold of their absence.
With Divock Origi injured, it was as much as the likes of Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Takumi Minamino and Kaide Gordon to step up – though Fabinho additionally put his hand up!
In whole, that quintet – forgetting Fabinho for now – contributed seven targets from the 12 scored within the 5 video games performed throughout AFCON to this point, the No. 3 accounted for 4.
Liverpool with out AFCON trio
Video games: 5
Objectives scored: 12
Objectives conceded: 2
The Arsenal fixture at Anfield was what many had feared however, all in all, Liverpool picked up a most of six factors within the league, progressed to the fourth spherical of the FA Cup and secured a spot at Wembley for the League Cup remaining.
All achieved with out Salah, Mane and Keita, a proven fact that Klopp acknowledged was by no means going to be straightforward however the Reds did all of it the identical.
“The vital factor is we did it with out them. It made it so intense,” Klopp stated of the AFCON absences following the win at Palace.
“If you don’t have that most pace on the wing that they have you ever clearly have to alter in these areas. The boys did properly to get on the scoresheet.”
With two factors pegged again on Man Metropolis and solely two targets conceded throughout the 5 video games, Liverpool couldn’t have requested for a greater month as at this stage, they nonetheless stay within the hunt in all 4 competitions.
Regardless of how a lot hope stays within the title race, it’s nonetheless very a lot there and it will likely be full steam forward on the AFCON trio’s respective returns from Cameroon.
And they aren’t to be the one notable returnees, with Harvey Elliott and Thiago additionally anticipated to be within the combine from Cardiff’s go to on February 6 onwards.
It’s the best-case state of affairs Liverpool may have dreamt up after the crew left Stamford Bridge firstly of the month amid Covid outbreak considerations and shedding three influential figures.
Now to maintain pushing on.