We take a look at the key news stories surrounding Liverpool from the day.

Sadio Mane nominated for African Player of the Year award

Sadio Mane has been nominated for the CAF African Player of the Year award, according to AfricanFootball. They report that Mane and Riyad Mahrez will be the main challengers to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s throne, after his “shock” victory over Yaya Toure last year. Mahrez was already adjudged the best African player earlier this year by the BBC, and it is highly likely that he will win the title given his brilliant performances that helped Leicester City to one of the most memorable Premier League title victories in history.

However, Mane has been in brilliant form this season since joining the Reds in a £34 million deal from Southampton in the summer. The winger has scored 8 goals and picked up 4 assists in just 16 appearances in the English Premier League and has been one of Liverpool’s best performers. Mane will depart for the Africa Cup of Nations in January and will be a huge miss for Liverpool but the winger himself feels that the Reds will do just fine without him.

The awards ceremony for the CAF African Player of the Year will be held next month in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: Sadio Mane of Liverpool holds off Idrissa Gueye of Everton during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on December 19, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 19: Sadio Mane of Liverpool holds off Idrissa Gueye of Everton during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on December 19, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Roberto Firmino eyeing long stay at Liverpool

The Liverpool forward, who is in love with the Liverpool fans and wants to win titles with the club, took his time to adjust to life in England but has now become a key part of Liverpool’s brilliant performances this season.

This relationship with the fans has clearly moved him and Firmino has said that he loves life at Liverpool and is planning on staying at the club for a long time.

“Being really honest, I love it here and plan to stay for many years in the future as the Premier League is really competitive and tests you all the time,” Firmino said, according to the club’s official website.

Firmino also admitted that he took time to settle into the style of play in English football but that he enjoys the pace of the Premier League.

“I think I have had to change the way I play. I was adapted to European football after playing in Germany for three years but English football is very different to the Bundesliga,” he said.

“You really notice that the Premier League is much, much faster – the pace is very high and you do need to adjust, but this is a type of football that I enjoy.”

Firmino definitely looks like he’s enjoying himself under Klopp and Liverpool fans will be happy to hear that he intends on staying for many years to come.

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) and Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino applaud the fans following the English Premier League football match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2016. Liverpool won the match 1-0. / AFP / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Mutual admiration : Roberto Firmino and Liverpool’s fans have fallen in love with one another (Photo Courtesy OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Mark Hughes surprised Liverpool sold Joe Allen to Stoke

Joe Allen has played a starring role in Stoke’s midfield this season and has been one of their stand-out performers. The Welsh international has 5 goals and 2 assists in 16 Premier League appearances this season – just 2 goals less than what he had in the span of 4 years with Liverpool.

At just 26, Allen still has several years ahead of him and Mark Hughes is surprised that Liverpool let the midfielder go, especially given his performances during Euro 2016.

“We were quite surprised that Liverpool were allowing him to leave after the European Championships, but I think they had other irons in the fire which allowed us to take Joe. They clearly were happy to do the deal and so were we,” he said, according to Sky Sports.

The Stoke manager also felt that Allen had nothing to prove to Liverpool and that even Liverpool fans were surprised to see him go.

“Joe has nothing to prove there in fairness. He was certainly appreciated by his team-mates and fans had expressed surprise he was allowed to leave. I think everyone appreciated his time at Liverpool and perhaps that he needed to move on as well.”

Despite his brilliant performances this season it is clear that Liverpool aren’t missing Allen as the Reds have been one of the best teams in the league this season.

Stoke City's Welsh midfielder Joe Allen (R) celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Leicester City at the Bet365 Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England on December 17, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Stoke City’s Welsh midfielder Joe Allen (R) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Leicester City at the Bet365 Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England on December 17, 2016. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool legend wants Suarez back at Anfield

Reds legend John Aldridge – who scored 50 goals in just 83 appearances for Liverpool in the 80s – feels that Liverpool’s squad is good but that not having European commitments factors into it. He also feels that Liverpool should not go out and spend money just for the sake of it, but that Suarez would be worth the money :

“The squad is quite good to be honest because we’re not in Europe. Coutinho is coming back soon and Matip and Gomez too. Plus, the young lads have plenty of potential. The manager will know if he needs to buy one but if the right man isn’t available he’ll play the kids. Money is available but he won’t go out and buy for the sake of it,” he said, in an interview with 888sport.

“Personally I’d go and get Suarez.”

It isn’t clear whether Aldridge was joking or not, but it’s safe to say that Liverpool have no chance of signing Suarez. The former Liverpool forward is absolutely loving life at Barcelona and only recently extended his contract. He has also stated several times that he wants to retire at Barcelona. It is tempting, though, to think what Liverpool would look like with Suarez in this side.

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