Liverpool's Players To Watch At The Copa America And AFCON This Summer
Liverpool enjoyed a superb season overall last year, finishing second in the Premier League after losing just one game and winning the Champions League. The likes of Allison and Naby Keita, who both arrived at the club in the summer, added to the strength Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino gave Jürgen Klopp’s side. Now all five of these stars are set to shine on the international stage, across the African Cup of Nations and Copa America. Here is how we expect them to get on.
Mohamed Salah – Egypt
Salah may not have reached the dizzy heights of 2017/18, where he scored over 49 goals in all competitions. But he had another good season at club level, sharing the Premier League’s Golden Boot with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his Reds teammate Mane. He is even more of a talisman for Egypt, the host of the African Cup of Nations, scoring 39 goals in just 62 games since 2011. He will undoubtedly have a big impact this summer.
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Sadio Mane – Senegal
Amazingly, Senegal have never won the African Cup of Nations, but come into this year’s tournament as second favourites. A big reason for that is Mane, who has enjoyed a superb season at Anfield, netting his aforementioned 22 Premier League goals and scoring crucial goals on Liverpool’s way to a sixth Champions League crown. Not playing up front means he doesn’t have as good an international record as he might, but 16 goals in 60 games suggests he’ll have another big impact on the tournament.
Naby Keita – Guinea
A £68million signing from RB Leipzig, Keita has ensured a mixed season on a personal level. But he still played a crucial role in their success in the end. While Guinea aren’t expected to challenge for the title, if they do go far, it’ll no doubt have something to do with Keita, who has scored five goals in 31 caps for his country over six years.
Alisson – Brazil
As mentioned above, Alisson has been one of the key differences this season. The Brazil number one was a big money signing from Roma and helped shore up the Reds’ defence, making a number of crucial saves over the season. As Tite’s preferred option over Manchester City’s Ederson, Allison will likely have a huge impact on the Copa America in his own country this summer.
Roberto Firmino – Brazil
Like Allison, Firmino is looking to take his club form onto the international stage but will be battling with a Manchester City star for a place in the side. Gabriel Jesus is likely to start ahead of him, but 12 goals in the Premier League last season, and 10 in 32 for the Seleçāo, he is likely to have a big impact at the Copa America in some form.