There was a surprising omission when the team sheets were released ahead of Sunday night’s FA Cup quarter-final match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool
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The reds were without Mohammed Salah for Sunday’s quarter-final game as he suffered a mild recurrence of his recent foot injury Premier League win at Arsenal on Wednesday. “Mo felt his foot a little bit after the game so we’ll have to see what we do with it,” said Klopp on Friday.
Even without their top scorer, Liverpool have a wealth of attacking talent, including sadio mane, Roberto Firmin, Diogo Jota and from that January transfer window, Luis Diaz. With their pursuit of the quad on the line at City Ground, many fans expected the front trident against Forest to consist of three of those four players.
Coincidentally, only Firmino and Jota were named in the starting XI Harvey Elliott received a berth on the wing instead of Diaz. That was perhaps understandable as Klopp has been known to take his time when bleeding new recruits like the Colombian, whilst also being a huge admirer of Elliott’s possessions called him an “incredible talent”.
Much more surprising was Mane’s absence not only from the starting XI but also from the matchday squad. Before kick-off, Klopp didn’t mention that the Senegalese had taken a hit, instead suggesting he’d been given a break ahead of an international break that was crucial for his country.
The Liverpool manager said: “Sadio, they have some tremendous games ahead of them. Hopefully it works.” Klopp’s admission led to speculation that he left Mane out like that Senegal would not be at a disadvantage if they took on Salah Egypt for a seat World Cup 2022.
Was Jurgen Klopp right to leave out Sadio Mane? Share your opinion in the comments…
The two nations – who met this year Africa Cup of Nations final, with Senegal prevail on penalties – will face off over two legs on Friday and next Tuesday with a spot at the Qatar tournament at stake. Adding to his pre-match comments, Klopp strongly suggested he left Mane out of fairness while he spoke afterwards Jota fired Liverpool to a narrow win over forest.
“It was clear that we wouldn’t use Sadio in the game either because the game in Africa is too big and I’m not the one who does things that could be misunderstood,” said the German.
Klopp’s decision to leave Mane out given Salah’s absence could easily have backfired had the Reds suffered an upset at the hands of Forest. Luckily for the Merseysiders, Jota was on hand to score his 19th goal of the season – and ensure Klopp didn’t pay the price for his diplomacy.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/mohamed-salah-mane-liverpool-klopp-26518318 Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and the Liverpool decision Jurgen Klopp had to make