Liverpool are worried they could be without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for eight games in the new year, according to a report.
The attacking pair, along with Naby Keita, are set to represent their respective countries at the Africa Cup of Nations, which runs from January 9 to February 6.
FIFA rules state “players must be released and start travel to their representative team no later than Monday morning the week preceding the week when the relevant final competition starts”, meaning the Reds and other Premier League teams would lose their African players on December 27.
Depending on how far they progress in the tournament, that means Salah and Mane would be unavailable for at least three Premier League games, including the trip to Chelsea, as well as the FA Cup third round and the EFL Cup semi-finals if Liverpool reach that stage.
However, according to The Athletic, talks will take place between clubs and national FAs to allow Premier League players to join up a week later on January 3 – the day after Liverpool face Chelsea.
The issue does not affect other European leagues, who will be in their winter break over the new year period.
Salah’s Egypt are in Group D at AFCON along with Nigeria, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau, while Mane’s Senegal face Zimbabwe, Guinea and Malawi in Group B.