The Gameweek 1 availability of Sadio Mane (£11.5m) must surely be in question after Senegal made it through to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 2002.
Senegal face Algeria in Friday’s final, which is staged exactly three weeks before Liverpool’s season-opening fixture against Norwich City.
Jurgen Klopp appears to be giving all of his players a three-week break following their international exertions this summer – as happened with several players after the 2018 World Cup – and Mane’s delayed departure from Egypt casts into doubt his chances of featuring against the newly promoted Canaries, at least from the start.
It’s not just Mane who is representing his country at the Africa Cup of Nations, of course, and we’ll be bringing you up to date on the other FPL assets involved at the quarter-final and semi-final stages in the Scout Notes article below.
Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) and Egypt bowed out of the competition at the round-of-16 stage.
Senegal 1-0 Benin
Senegal 1-0 Tunisia (after extra-time)
Mane was heavily involved in Senegal’s quarter-final win over Benin, teeing up Everton’s Idrissa Gueye (£5.0m) for the match-winning goal and seeing two strikes of his own chalked off after VAR intervention.
Mane lasted the whole 90 minutes, along with Cheikhou Kouyate (£5.0m) – again playing at centre-half – and Newcastle United’s forgotten man Henri Saivet.
Gueye was withdrawn just before the game entered stoppage time.
The Lions of Teranga then saw off Tunisia in a tense semi-final, with the game going to extra-time after a goalless 90 minutes.
Dylan Bronn headed into his own net to give Senegal the victory, although Mane had earlier wasted an excellent chance when screwing a shot wide after rounding Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassan.
That was the Liverpool winger’s only attempt on goal in the entire game and he was perhaps more peripheral than he had been throughout the tournament.
The former Southampton man also ceded penalty-taking duties after two misses from the spot in the tournament, allowing Saivet to step up from 12 yards in the 80th minute – only for the Newcastle man to see his effort saved.
It’s a momentary withdrawal. I have missed penalties in both games and must admit that it is not a good ratio.
I do not want to penalise my team and, at least for the time being, I’m going to stand aside for the penalties and let other teammates get on with it.
When I return to my club, I will continue to work hard to improve on this aspect.
Tunisia had a penalty award of their own overturned after VAR intervention, meanwhile.
Mane, Saivet, Gueye and Kouyate played all 120 minutes of Sunday’s semi-final.
Nigeria 2-1 South Africa
Ivory Coast 1-1 Algeria (3-4 penalties)
Algeria 2-1 Nigeria
Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) will be up against Mane and Senegal in Friday’s final after Algeria saw off Nigeria in dramatic fashion.
Mahrez curled in an injury-time free-kick to give his country a 2-1 win, having earlier forced an own goal from Nigeria’s William Troost-Ekong with a fizzed cross from the right flank.
Mahrez, Wilfred Ndidi (£5.0m) and Alex Iwobi (£6.0m) played the full 90 minutes for their respective countries, while Leon Balogun (£4.5m) was an unused substitute for the Super Eagles.
Algeria had progressed to the semis following a penalty shootout victory over Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals.
Neither Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m) nor (surprisingly) Mahrez were on the field by the time the game reached that point, having been replaced on 94 and 86 minutes respectively.
Jonathan Kodjia (£5.5m) was also withdrawn in extra time but the Aston Villa striker had at least found the back of the net by that point, collecting Zaha’s pass and rifling in a low shot from the edge of the Algerian box.
The Palace winger cut a frustrated figure at times and picked up a booking after a clash with Ramy Bensebaini, although the Algerian defender didn’t do himself any favours with a theatrical reaction after contact with Zaha’s arm.
Serge Aurier (£5.0m), who has picked up hamstring and wrist injuries during the tournament, watched the game from the sidelines.
A day earlier, Nigeria had seen off South Africa in their own quarter-final.
Iwobi impressed and it was from his cross down the left that Nigeria first took the lead, with Samuel Chukwueze finishing at the second attempt.
Troost-Ekong scored an 89th-minute winner before Iwobi was replaced by Balogun in injury time.
Ndidi again lasted the course in central midfield.
The tournament is not over for Nigeria despite their subsequent semi-final defeat: the third-place play-off takes place on Wednesday evening between Tunisia and the Super Eagles.
Become a Member and access our data
Memberships for the 2019/20 campaign are now available for the price of £17.50.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.