With the African Cup of nations coming up in January, Liverpool may have to do without two players at the most. Nonetheless, they are two very important players.

While it is a certainty that Sadio Mane will represent Senegal, the same cannot be said about Cameroon international Joel Matip, who last represented his country back in Septemper 2015.

Mane will miss a large part of January  for Liverpool, a streak that includes four matches.

Two of those are vital clashes, one away to Manchester United (14th January) and the other, a home fixture against Chelsea (1st February).

He would also not be available for the FA Cup fourth round and both legs of the League Cup semi-final, should Liverpool still be in both competitions at that point.

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - JULY 20: Joel Coleman(R) of Huddersfield Town challenged by Sadio Mane of Liverpool during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Huddersfield Town and Liverpool at the Galpharm Stadium on July 20, 2016 in Huddersfield, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND – JULY 20: Joel Coleman(R) of Huddersfield Town challenged by Sadio Mane of Liverpool during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Huddersfield Town and Liverpool at the Galpharm Stadium on July 20, 2016 in Huddersfield, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

The 24 year old has been in sensational form for Liverpool, with his powerful presence during attack and also scored in his debut against Arsenal. It would be difficult to replace a player of his caliber in the team, and should he continue with his splendid form, Liverpool would find it difficult to cope in the important matches.

Liverpool do have a few options in the squad with maybe Firmino, Sturridge and Coutinho forming an attacking trio with Lallana operating from the midfield or the flank, but Mane gives an extra boost to the squad and no no one can take on defenders like he does.

As far as Matip is concerned, in all likeliness he will stay with the squad. He has not exactly seen eye to eye with the Cameroon management with head coach Hugo Broos claiming that Matip was not motivated enough, and their rift is yet to be settled. However, anything can happen, and seeing how Klopp prefers Matip to Sakho in any case, it would be fair to say that the Reds will be depleted if even Matip leaves, and certainly would be exposed when the take on the likes of United and Chelsea.

For the time being though, Liverpool, who got off to a flyer against Arsenal, but came crashing down against Burnley, would want to get their heads straights and keep picking up wins.