Liverpool have been dealt a major blow as influential winger Sadio Mane faces up to six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
The 25-year-old, who earlier this week was included on FIFA’s 30-man shortlist for the 2017 Ballon d’Or award, sustained the injury while on international duty with Senegal.
The former Southampton ace was forced off during the closing stages of Les Lions 2-0 World Cup qualifying success over the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday and Liverpool have now confirmed he faces a sustained period on the sidelines.
Mane has already missed three club matches this season following his sending off against Manchester City last month, while he was also out of the first-team fold for an extended period last season due to Senegal’s participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Liverpool do not tend to perform well without Mane, as they only won one of their seven matches when he was on international duty last term, while they also average just 1.6 Premier League goals per game in his absence, compared to 2.2 with him in the team.
The winger will definitely miss Saturday’s hotly-anticipated league clash with Manchester United at Anfield, while he is also likely to be absent from crucial top-flight matches against Tottenham and Huddersfield, as well as their Champions League double-header with Maribor.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are currently seventh in the league standings, seven points behind the leaders, but they are priced at 34.00 to claim a first title since 1990 come the end of the season.