Sadio Mane has sustained a hamstring injury that could keep him out for up to six weeks Liverpool have confirmed on their website.
The Ballon D’or nominee was substituted in the 89th minute as Senegal beat Cape Verde 2-0 in the World Cup Qualifier on Saturday.
The first game Mane will miss through injury is the crucial showdown with high flying rivals Manchester United and he may not return until the end of November; missing a potential ten games as Liverpool look to get their season back on track.
These games include both the home and away fixtures to Maribor, an away trip to free-scoring Tottenham Hotspur and potentially games against Sevilla and Chelsea.
Mane will be a huge miss to the reds who will now have to find a way to compensate for his absence.
Last season, Mane leaving for the African Cup of Nations was infamously the reason why Liverpool’s season derailed and whilst Jurgen Klopp’s team finished inside the top 4 their performances were nowhere near the standard they hit in the first three months of the campaign.
With Lallana nowhere near to full fitness, Liverpool are running out of options in the attacking areas. Jurgen Klopp may look to push Coutinho further forward in the role he played last season; leaving a midfield three of Henderson, Can and Wijnaldum.
Another option – whilst risky – could be to bring in Dominic Solanke. Nobody wants teammates to be injured but when the time comes you need to make an impact so that the injured player’s absence almost goes unnoticed.
Solanke may look to replicate the fortunes of Alexander-Arnold; who grasped his opportunity with both hands once Clyne was ruled out with an injury.
With Mane injured, a lot of Liverpool’s attacking will now be relying on Salah. When Liverpool lost Mane last season they struggled because there wasn’t another player in the squad who could do his job. Due to the £35 million signing of the Egyptian in the summer Jurgen Klopp could potentially recreate the winning formula from the first half of last season despite Mane’s injury with a front three of Coutinho, Firmino and Salah.
Despite this, Mane will certainly be a huge loss to Liverpool. The Senegalese winger hit the ground running this season picking up the Premier League player of the month award for August and scoring three goals in four Premier League appearances.