"We sleep in a hotel, they sleep in a plane" - Klopp gives blessing to Salah and Mane

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Main Mane: Sadio Mane scores Liverpool's opener against Burnley

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane will fly to Ghana 24 hours before Friday’s FA Cup Merseyside derby against Everton with manager Jurgen Klopp’s full support.

The Senegal international will travel with Reds team-mate Mohamed Salah as both are on the shortlist for the Confederation of African football’s player of the year award.

However, with Salah an injury doubt for the game, as is Philippe Coutinho, the importance of Mane has become greater in the short term than that of new £75million signing Virgil van Dijk, and it was highlighted in the 2-1 win at Burnley.

Mane scored a brilliant opener – only his second Premier League strike since August – and may have to play a key role against Everton, but Klopp will not prevent him from travelling to Africa.

“Sadio is unbelievably important for us. He is strong, quick, so many things. He scores a goal like this and it is like, ‘Wow’,” said Klopp, who saw defender Ragnar Klavan snatch a stoppage-time winner after Burnley’s Johann Berg Gudmundsson had equalised in the 87th minute.

“We have everything organised. We have two of the three best African players in our squad. We have to show them respect.

“If it had been a matchday they wouldn’t have asked. We sleep in a hotel, they sleep in a plane. That is all the difference.

“If Mo is not fit, it will not be for that (travelling). For our side, it is just a sign of respect.

“I had (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang (at Borussia Dortmund) and there is nothing more important than to go there.”

Van Dijk was officially confirmed as a Liverpool player on Monday after the paperwork on a world-record deal for a defender was finalised, with all negotiations with Southampton and the player concluded last week.

The transfer fee eclipses the £54million spent by Manchester City to sign England full-back Kyle Walker from Tottenham in the summer, but it is something the Holland international had no control over.

“Obviously there is a lot of money being paid, but I can’t do anything about that money, I can’t do anything about the price – nobody can,” he told liverpoolfc.com.

“It’s only the market. The only thing I can do is just work hard, do the good things and be 100 per cent every day. I am happy to be here and I can’t wait to get started.

“I think this is the right time for me to be here and to develop all sorts of aspects of my game. I am looking forward to doing that – that’s the main thing.”

Klopp refused to say whether the centre-back was in contention to face Everton.

“I don’t know,” the German said. “We made a few tests. No rush. He is on fire, really wants (to play), but we have to make sure he can perform.

“Centre-half is a position which depends on the others in the pitch. That means you have to tune it so you work together.

“After Friday, we have a little bit more time. It is a long-time project. It is not important when his first game (is) but how many good games (he has).”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Gabriel Jesus facing lengthy spell on sidelines after MCL injury

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Down and out: Pep Guardiola consoles Gabriel Jesus

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus suffered a medial collateral ligament injury in Sunday’s goalless draw with Crystal Palace.

Jesus is expected to face a lengthy period on the sidelines with scans expected to determine the extent of the injury within the coming days, the Premier League leaders announced on Monday evening.

The 20-year-old went off the pitch in tears at Selhurst Park after picking up the injury early in the first half.

There are now real fears Jesus could face a much longer time on the sidelines than had first been expected by City boss Pep Guardiola.

While the full extent of Jesus’ injury was yet to be ascertained, Guardiola had suggested he could be out for ”little more than a month”.

Mild MCL injuries tend to heal within three to six weeks but more severe issues could take up to 12 weeks to fully repair.

It is the latest injury blow for the Brazilian, who was forced to sit out for two months with a fractured metatarsal shortly after joining City last year.

And it comes at a bad time for City with Kevin De Bruyne also facing a spell on the sidelines after being injured in a foul by Jason Puncheon at Selhurst Park.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Liverpool and Egypt striker Mohamed Salah named Arab Player of the Year

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Mohamed Salah was named Arab Player of the Year for 2017 on Monday in a poll of around 100 sports journalists from several Arab countries.

Salah, 25, has been an instant success at Liverpool since joining from AS Roma, scoring 17 goals in the Premier League already and 23 in all competitions.

He also helped Egypt to qualify for this year’s World Cup finals in Russia.

Syrian winger Omar Khribin, who plays for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, came second and another Syrian player, Omar Al-Soma, of Saudi side Al Ahli, was third.

Salah is also favourite to win the African Player of the Year title which will be announced in the Ghanaian capital Accra on Thursday.

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