It may not be for a while yet, but Liverpool are facing the prospect of being without a key part of their success so far this season in January.
Sadio Mane has hit the ground running since arriving at Anfield from Southampton this past summer, scoring six goals and providing four assists in 11 appearances in all competitions.
In turn, his absence would certainly have a negative impact on Jurgen Klopp’s side, and it appears as though the German tactician will have to cope without him during a key period in the season.
With the 2017 African Cup of Nations taking place between January 14 and February 5, Mane is expected to represent Senegal and will therefore miss key games for his side.
Liverpool face Manchester United on January 15 and then Chelsea on January 31, while he would also likely have to miss games with Swansea City and Hull City too, obviously depending on how Senegal fare in the tournament.
While the majority of teams involved in the Premier League will face a similar situation, it remains to be seen how much of a blow this will be for Liverpool.
Given their impressive start to the campaign, which sees them sit top of the table after 11 games, Klopp would have hoped to avoid anything that could harm their chances and disrupt their progress.
Although they do have strength in depth and quality replacements in the squad, it remains to be seen just how much this hurts them in January with Mane likely to continue to prove what a smart bit of business it was to sign him this summer between now and when he has to report for international duty.