Rigobert Song expressed regret over Cameroon's first two World Cup displays after they were eliminated from Group G despite becoming the first African team to beat Brazil at the tournament.

Cameroon needed to beat the pre-tournament favourites to have any chance of joining them in the last 16 on Friday, and they did so in dramatic fashion as Vincent Aboubakar scored a stoppage-time winner before receiving a second yellow card for celebrating by removing his shirt.

However, Switzerland's thrilling 3-2 win over Serbia ensured Murat Yakin's side finished two points clear of Cameroon, condemning them to a sixth consecutive group-stage exit at the World Cup.

The Indomitable Lions did at least go out on a high by ending Brazil's perfect World Cup record against African sides (previously played seven, won seven), but Song felt the result showed Cameroon could have gone further.

"I didn't even realise that this was such a historic victory. We are one of the African countries who have played more World Cups than most, and now we've beaten Brazil," Song said.

"My players deserve to be congratulated. They showed tonight they could have done better in the first two games [a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland and a 3-3 draw with Serbia].

"I think we do have a feeling of regret. Now we realise we could have done better. But we need to look on the positive side as well. 

"I'm trying to get across a team spirit, that lion's spirit, which needs to be the key to Cameroon teams.

"We realise now we could have done better in this tournament. We're a young team and today we've seen our young team getting stronger and stronger."

Cameroon began 2022 by finishing third at the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil, and with just over a year to prepare for the next edition of that tournament – which was pushed back to January 2024 due to weather concerns in Ivory Coast, Song is backing them to improve further.

"There's another tournament in 2024 and we've built up some momentum now," Song added.

"I'm satisfied with tonight's performance. I took over the national team not too long ago and I think we are progressing and improving, so I'm proud of this team."

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has launched a stinging condemnation of Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis after he stated he would not sign African players unless they agreed to waive Africa Cup of Nations duties.

De Laurentiis angered the continent's governing body and others ahead of the new campaign when he said he would no longer recruit individuals eligible for the prestigious continental international tournament.

Unlike other major representative events, such as the European Championship and Copa America, AFCON is usually held midway through the European season, where many of its stars ply their trade.

This year's Qatar 2022 World Cup represents a break from the norm in a mid-season staging, though that was a decision dictated by the weather and the top leagues will pause for the competition.

De Laurentiis has been widely condemned for his words stating he would not bring such players to the club comments and now the continent's governing body have weighed in on the matter too.

"CAF is appalled by the irresponsible and unacceptable remarks made by Napoli President, Mr Aurelio De Laurentiis on African players and the Africa Cup of Nations," read an official statement.

"By publicly declaring that players who sign for Napoli must sign a waiver denouncing participation in the Africa Cup of Nations as a condition of employment, De Laurentiis' comments are likely to fall under Article 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

"CAF therefore urges UEFA to initiate disciplinary investigation against him. We have no doubt that Napoli and UEFA are as committed as CAF is to these global humanitarian objectives. 

"Are we to assume that the chairman of Napoli is going to include similar restrictive conditions to players from South America, Asia and other Confederations prohibiting them from playing in their Continental competitions which are important for the development and growth of football globally?"

The next iteration of AFCON is set to be held in January 2024 in the Ivory Coast, having been postponed from June and July 2023 over weather concerns.

Kalidou Koulibaly has condemned plans by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis to tell new signings they must agree not to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

De Laurentiis proposed the controversial policy on Tuesday, saying that any African player who joined the Serie A club should make a commitment to skip the tournament.

It remains to be seen whether he goes through with the plan, or whether it is enforceable. The next AFCON is due to be played in the Ivory Coast in January 2024.

Last season, Napoli were without Cameroon international Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa and Senegal defender Koulibaly as they represented their nations in the tournament that took place in January and February, while Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen missed out because of an injury.

Koulibaly, who has since moved on to Chelsea, felt De Laurentiis was out of line with his remarks, and claimed the views would not be endorsed by many others at the club.

"It's up to him if he wanted to tell this, but for me the most important [thing] is to respect everybody," Koulibaly told a news conference in London.

"When I played there, I was playing also for Senegal, and I won the AFCON with Senegal when I was playing with Napoli.

"It's true that it was a difficult moment for them when we went to AFCON, but we won it and I'm really happy today."

While Napoli may have struggled for numbers without their African players, their results were strong nonetheless, with Luciano Spalletti's team taking 13 points from a possible 15 from their first five league games of the year. The only real disappointment was a Coppa Italia exit at the hands of Fiorentina in mid-January.

Koulibaly added: "You cannot speak for African national teams like this, I think. You have to have respect, like you have for other national teams.

"As captain of Senegal, I think that this is not a good way to speak about African national teams.

"But I respect what he thinks. If he thinks the team can play without African players, it's up to him. But I think not everybody has the same idea as him at the club.

"I know that some people who are part of this society and team do not have the same idea as him. It's not the idea of the society or the city, because the city is very respectful."

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has controversially suggested the club will not sign African players unless they make agreements not to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Last season, Napoli were without Cameroon international Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa and Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly during their participation in Africa’s showpiece tournament, the latter of whom went on to win the tournament and has since departed Naples for Chelsea.

Striker Victor Osimhen could have been another player to travel to the tournament in Cameroon to play for Nigeria, but an injury ruled him out.

The next AFCON is due to be played in the Ivory Coast in 2024, and De Laurentiis says the club would want some sort of commitment from any player joining Napoli that they would be willing to skip the tournament.

"I told them: lads, don't talk to me about Africans anymore," De Laurentiis told a streamed event in quotes reported by Football Italia.

"I love them, but either they sign something confirming they'll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!

"We are the idiots who pay salaries only to send them all over the world playing for others."

De Laurentiis also revealed how he rebuked the advances of American investors in an offer worth $900million back in the 2017-18 season.

"In recent years these investment funds have become fashionable, they have to guarantee their investors a certain revenue within five years," the 73-year-old added.

"They saw that football is a great opportunity and they can double their investment by selling clubs to investment funds in future. That's what Milan and Inter have done, right?

"I am assailed by funds, I can't take it anymore. In 2017-18, an American fund offered me $900m to sell Napoli. But they don't realise I am this pure entrepreneur who enjoys playing the game, so let me keep playing."

Sadio Mane has rejected any notion of a rivalry with former Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah after the new Bayern Munich signing won his second African Player of the Year honour on Thursday.

Mane, 30, previously won the award in 2019, and earned it again after helping Senegal win their first African Cup of Nations crown, while being named Player of the Tournament.

In the process, he became Senegal's all-time leading goalscorer, finding the net 33 times from 91 senior caps.

Mane and Salah have now split the past four African Player of the Year awards evenly, with Salah winning in 2017 and 2018, and Mane now the winner in 2019 and 2022. The award was not given out in both 2020 and 2021.

Speaking with Goal ahead of the ceremony, Mane insisted he has a great relationship with Egyptian icon Salah.

"People sometimes say there's a rivalry between me and [Salah], but you know I don’t see myself having a rivalry with any player to be honest," he said.

"We have good relations, we text each other. I think the media always try to [aggravate] things.

"You know I don’t just have [relationships] with one player, but with every player I’ve played with in the world. 

"You can ask whoever you want in the club, or wherever I go. I have good relationships with all players."

Mane's time with Bayern has started well, scoring from the penalty spot just five minutes into his debut friendly against D.C. United this week in a 6-2 win.

Sadio Mane has been named African Footballer of the Year for 2022, seeing off competition from former Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah and Chelsea's Edouard Mendy at Thursday's CAF awards.

The Bayern Munich new boy, who was also crowned the continent's top player in 2019, helped Senegal win their first Africa Cup of Nations title in February, scoring the winning penalty to down Salah's Egypt in the final.

The forward scored three goals throughout the competition in Cameroon, after which he was crowned Player of the Tournament.

One month later, Mane was influential in another shoot-out win over the Pharaohs, as Senegal sealed qualification for the World Cup in Qatar later this year. 

On the domestic front, meanwhile, Mane scored 23 goals in all competitions as Liverpool won the EFL and FA Cups during his final season at Anfield.

Mane made 51 appearances across a mammoth 2021-22 campaign with the Reds, a tally only bettered by Jordan Henderson (57), Diogo Jota (55) and Allison (54).

Oliver Kahn, chief executive of Mane's new employers Bayern, was the first to offer his congratulations to the 30-year-old, writing on Twitter: "We are very happy about Sadio Mane's award. 

"FC Bayern has never had an African Footballer of the Year in its ranks in its long history, which is a special honour for our club.

"We are very proud that he is now on the ball for our club and have many big goals with him."

While Chelsea shot-stopper Mendy missed out on being crowned the continent's best player, he could draw some consolation from Senegal's clean sweep of awards.

The Lions of Teranga were named CAF's team of the year, while boss Aliou Cisse won Coach of the Year and midfielder Pape Matar Sarr scooped the Young Player of the Year gong.

 

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Edouard Mendy have made the final three-man shortlist for the African Football's (CAF) Men's Player of the Year award.

The trio all plied their trade in the Premier League last season, though Mane has since left Liverpool to join Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Mane scored 23 goals in 51 games for Liverpool in his final season at Anfield, winning the EFL Cup and FA Cup and reaching the Champions League final, as well as scoring the winning penalty in the shoot-out to win the Africa Cup of Nations for Senegal in February.

His former Reds team-mate Salah was on the losing Egypt side in that AFCON final, but had a stellar club campaign in 2021-22, scoring 31 goals in 51 games for Jurgen Klopp's men.

Mendy did not enjoy the same success for Chelsea as he had in 2020-21 when he won the Champions League, though kept 22 clean sheets in 49 games in all competitions in 2021-22, and did lift the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup with the Blues, while also being a part of the successful Senegal team at the AFCON in Cameroon

The seven players to miss out from the 10-man longlist released last week are another Liverpool man in Naby Keita, Mendy's new Chelsea and international team-mate Kalidou Koulibaly, as well as Riyad Mahrez, Vincent Aboubakar, Karl Toko Ekambi, Achraf Hakimi and Sebastien Haller.

Due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been three years since the award was handed out, with Mane winning in 2019 ahead of Salah and Mahrez.

The final three for the Women's Player of the Year award are Grace Chanda of Zambia and BIIK Kazygurt, Ajara Nchout Njoya of Cameroon and Inter, and Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria and Barcelona.

The winners of both awards will be announced on Thursday.

The next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations will take place in January and February 2024, rather than between June and July 2023, according to CAF president Patrice Motsepe.

Africa's premier international tournament was due to be held in Ivory Coast during the European off-season next year, but the threat of heavy flooding in the country at that time of year means it will again take place midway through the club campaign.  

Speaking in the Moroccan capital Rabat, where a meeting of the CAF Executive Committee was taking place, Motsepe said: "We cannot take the risk.

"January is not the ideal time because of the European clubs, but it is the only choice we have."

In 2017 CAF announced its intention to play the tournament at the end of the European club season.

However, this year's edition, won by Senegal in February, was twice rescheduled after being slated to start in both June 2021 and June 2022, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and adverse weather conditions in Cameroon.

The move is unlikely to be popular with several big-name club coaches, with Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp one high-profile critic of the decision to play the most recent tournament at the height of the European season.

CAF Secretary-General Veron Mosengo-Omba, however, insisted the contrasting weather conditions across the continent meant a permanent switch to a January-February tournament was not on the cards.

CAF also announced the creation of an African Super League on Sunday, with the first edition of the 24-team tournament, which will run alongside the African Champions League, slated to begin in August 2023. 

Mohamed Salah has achieved "nothing" with Egypt and the Liverpool star must raise his level when featuring for the national team, according to former Pharaohs coach Hassan Shehata.

In response, Egypt's former sports and youth minister Khaled Abdel Aziz defended the forward, calling him a wonderful ambassador and unifying figure for the country.

Salah scored 31 goals and provided 15 assists across all competitions for Liverpool as they won the EFL and FA Cups last season, also finishing as runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League.

But the forward experienced a more frustrating campaign on the international front, as Egypt lost the Africa Cup of Nations final on penalties to Senegal in February and suffered the same fate in March's crucial World Cup qualification play-off – with Salah missing from the spot in the latter contest.

Those disappointing results have led Shehata, who coached Egypt from 2004 to 2011 and won consecutive Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2006, 2008, and 2010, to call for improvements from Salah.

"We all know that Salah is one of the stars of the world and not just one of the stars of Egypt," he told Sada al-Balad. "The awards he took and the goals he scored give him the right to be the top star.

"But technically, and I'm sorry to say this, Salah has done nothing with the national team. He should have done much better than he has. He must provide more when he plays for his country."

However, Shehata did admit Salah was playing with inferior players when joining up with the national team, and said it was up to coaches to get the best from the 30-year-old after Egypt put in a series of dull displays at this year's Cup of Nations.

"It's true [that there is a difference in quality compared to Liverpool]," Shehata said. "He should have said this to the officials here - although he is not the one who chooses the players - but he should've said that the players here are not like the players in England."

Shehata's criticisms have not gone unnoticed in Egypt, with the country's former sports minister Aziz defending Salah's role on and off the pitch.

"Mohamed Salah was one of the most important soft forces that returned life in Egypt to normal after the [2013] June 30 revolution," he wrote on Twitter, alongside an image of himself with the Liverpool star.

"He was a wonderful global ambassador for his country in a difficult political period and led the national team to the World Cup after 28 years [in 2018].

"And despite the suspension of the league [after deaths occurred amid stadium violence in 2015] and then the league of the two groups, he led the team to the final of Africa [Cup of Nations] 2017 after three consecutive times we did not qualify at all."

Egypt are seeking their third head coach of the calendar year after sacking Ehab Galal after only three games at the helm last week, just two months on from Carlos Queiroz quitting the role.

A study has shown that over 55 per cent of players who featured in the finals of Euro 2020 and this year's Africa Cup of Nations were abused online.

The independent report, released by FIFA five months prior to the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, identified that homophobic and racist comments were the two main areas of concern.

Over 400,000 social media posts were examined, spread across Twitter and Instagram, and 541 cases of direct discrimination or other forms of abuse were discovered.

The majority of hate comments were found to have originated from the home countries of targeted players, with 38 per cent having been made in the United Kingdom.

The study showed that 40 per cent of abusive messages contained homophobic content, and 38 per cent were racist. A further three per cent were categorised as containing a threat, while 58 per cent of the racist remarks were found to be still visible online in April 2022, with 87 per cent of non-racist abuse also still live.

The report comes after England players Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford received racist abuse online after missing in the Euro 2020 final penalty shoot-out against Italy, which England ultimately lost.

It was revealed that 78 per cent of the abuse aimed at players involved in that game contained racist remarks.

Such abuse was heavily condemned by England manager Gareth Southgate as well as UK prime minister Boris Johnson, who vowed to take action against racist trolls. 

For the AFCON final between Senegal and Egypt, the abuse was found to be 26 per cent racist in tone, and 62 per cent homophobic.

FIFA said it would collaborate with global players' union FIFPRO to start a moderation service to monitor hate speech during upcoming tournaments, in the hope it will stop the messages being seen by the intended targets.

"Our duty is to protect football, and that starts with the players who bring so much joy and happiness to all of us by their exploits on the field of play," FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.

"We want our actions to speak louder than our words and that is why we are taking concrete measures to tackle the problem directly."

As well as the moderation tool, educational and mental health advice will be offered to players at FIFA tournaments in 2022 and 2023 to help them deal with online abuse.

Wantaway Liverpool forward Sadio Mane deserves to be in contention to win the Ballon d'Or, says Patrick Vieira. 

Mane, who has been widely linked with a move to German champions Bayern Munich after Liverpool announced the signing of Benfica attacker Darwin Nunez, scored 23 goals as the Reds won the EFL Cup and FA Cup last season.

He was also decisive as Senegal claimed their first Africa Cup of Nations title in February before leading his national team to World Cup qualification the following month. 

Those exploits have led to suggestions he could compete with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to be named the world's best player later this year, and Arsenal legend and Crystal Palace manager Vieira thinks his wide-ranging abilities put him in contention.

"Sadio Mane is part of the new generation of attackers who knows how to do everything," Vieira told the Diambars Institute, a football academy in Senegal.

"He scores goals, he knows how to defend, he knows how to run in depth. He is a hard worker in the field. 

"He is one of the modern attackers. For me, he should be considered for the Ballon d'Or.

"He is one of those great players who can win it. I saw him every weekend in the Premier League and for me, he is one of the great European strikers."

Having won six trophies in a six-year spell at Anfield, Mane is expected to move to Bayern in the current transfer window, perhaps as a replacement for Barcelona-linked striker Robert Lewandowski.

Asked about such rumours, Vieira said Mane will make the best decision for his career. 

"I think he has his head on his shoulders to make the best decision," the Frenchman added.

"Should he stay or go? It's up to him to make that decision. But he is a player that I admire in relation to his talent as a footballer, but also in relation to his talent as a man."

Sadio Mane has become Senegal's record goalscorer after his hat-trick secured a 3-1 win over over Benin in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.

The Liverpool forward scored twice from the penalty spot and netted another in Dakar to move onto 32 goals in 90 games for his country.

Mane's treble moved him beyond Henri Camara's tally of 31 for the champions of Africa.

The 30-year-old's record-breaking achievement comes amid intense speculation over his future following another outstanding season for Jurgen Klopp's side.

On Friday, the attacker quipped that he would do what the people of his Senegal want him to do, amid reports he could be on his way to Bayern Munich.

Liverpool risk damaging their long-term transfer policy if they offer Mohamed Salah a bumper new contract.

That is according to former Reds goalkeeper David James, who also told Stats Perform that the frustration of missing out on the World Cup is having a detrimental effect on Salah.

Salah is into the final 16 months of his existing deal at Anfield and is reportedly holding out for fresh terms that could make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League.

The 29-year-old has 28 goals in all competitions this season, a tally bettered only by Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (37) and Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (45) from Europe's top five leagues.

However, while Salah has once again proved his worth to Liverpool this campaign, James does not believe the club should bow to the Egypt forward's alleged wage demands.

"Quite simply, Liverpool won't offer him a contract that is wrong for them. As they say, no one is bigger than the club," James said.

"If he feels he could get more [money] elsewhere, and that's what he wants, then he'll have to go somewhere else.

"That would be the best business Liverpool can do with regards to sticking to whatever their policy is, rather than changing it to cater for an individual and upsetting the model."

 Amid the ongoing questions over his future, Salah's form has dropped in recent weeks, the former Chelsea attacker having scored in just one of his last seven club games.

That coincides with double heartbreak at international level for Salah, with Egypt losing to Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations final and last month's World Cup play-off.

Indeed, since returning from AFCON duty in February, Salah has averaged fewer goals (0.66 compared to 0.81) and fewer assists (0.16 compared to 0.45) per 90 minutes.

He is also creating fewer chances (1.97 compared to 2.07), all of which James puts down to Egypt's recent woes.

"There's been frustration because he's trying to score goals, rather than trying harder for the team," James added. "What I'd seen this season up to AFCON was Mo helping out.

"It was perfect harmony. But all of a sudden it was almost like 'I'm going away for a month, let me try and get my goals now because I can't score them when I'm away."

"That sort of frustration is more detrimental to his performance. With the negative experiences of the AFCON and World Cup, you start asking 'Where's the desperation?'

"Is there a desperation to his performances to try to make up for those other losses?"

Salah's struggles in front of goal over the past month have coincided with Luis Diaz's instant impact since arriving from Porto in the January transfer window.

Diaz has three goals and one assist in 13 appearances, providing Jurgen Klopp with even more depth in the final third of the field, where they also have Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota.

But James says that should come as no surprise given the impressive work of Liverpool's scouting department in recent times.

"I have to say, I didn't know a lot about him until he was rumoured to be going to Tottenham, so I did my homework on him," James said of Diaz.

"I was amazed at what a player he was. I'd like to think any Premier League club who plays against Diaz will know exactly what they are coming up against.

"But we shouldn't be surprised. One of the most impressive things about Liverpool is that Diaz isn't an exception – there's also Diogo Jota, Thiago [Alcantara], and so on.

"Players come into the team and look as though they have been there for years. That's all part of the system and environment. When players get an opportunity they just fit in.

"That is credit to Liverpool, who have allowed Diaz to fit in and feel part of the team in a short period of time. It's like he's been there all season."

Chelsea and Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is relishing a huge week for the Stamford Bridge outfit, saying he will have time to celebrate his recent trophy wins at the end of the season.

Mendy has enjoyed another strong campaign, lifting the Club World Cup with Thomas Tuchel's team after starring in his nation's first major trophy success at the Africa Cup of Nations.

He kept four clean sheets and was named the tournament's best goalkeeper as Senegal lifted the trophy.

But with the London outfit facing a crucial week on two fronts, hosting Lille in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday before facing Liverpool in Sunday's EFL Cup final, the 29-year-old says he is simply taking each game as it comes without any time to celebrate just yet.

"A lot of good things have happened in the last weeks," Mendy said ahead of Chelsea's first-leg clash with Lille. "I am very happy and proud of my success with the national team and Chelsea.

"I don't have time to celebrate, because we have a lot of big games in the coming weeks, so I am just focused on the next game. I will have time to celebrate at the end of the season.

"It's an important week but like I said, when you play for Chelsea you play for this kind of week, with finals and big games.

"We just [have to] focus on ourselves and what we have done well this season. We don't need to do something new, just rely on our work and our game."

Mendy, who has kept nine clean sheets in 21 league appearances for Chelsea in the Premier League this season, was also keen to praise teammate Kepa Arrizabalaga, who deputised ably when he travelled to Africa.

"My relationship with Kepa is good since I came here, we have a good relationship on and off the pitch," he said.

"When you play for Chelsea, you have competition in every position, so you have to give your best and play at your highest level to be in the team at the weekend."

Mendy also warned of the challenge posed by Lille ahead of the Ligue 1 holders' trip to London, as Chelsea try to retain their Champions League title.

He added: "When it's the Champions League and this stage of the competition, there are no easy draws.

"Lille are a very good team. They've struggled a bit more this season in the league [sitting 11th in Ligue 1 after 25 games] but it's always difficult to be reigning champions.

"They will give everything to make it hard for us and get a result. It's up to us to be wary of that and play our best football."

Chelsea are the first Champions League holders to progress to the knockout stages without winning their group since Real Madrid in 2017-18, but the Spanish side did go on to retain their title that season.

Jurgen Klopp detailed Mohamed Salah's huge disappointment after returning to Liverpool following Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations final defeat, although the Reds manager hopes he and the team can "benefit" from that pain.

Salah and Egypt were beaten on penalties by Senegal in Sunday's AFCON decider, with Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane scoring the winning spot-kick.

While Mane is yet to return amid Senegal's celebrations – granted additional time to "just enjoy it, enjoy themselves" and then "come back as early as possible", likely late on Wednesday – Salah has already rejoined Liverpool.

The superstar winger should be in line to face Leicester City in the Premier League on Thursday, although he is visibly hurting from his international heartbreak.

"He's very disappointed, obviously," boss Klopp said on Wednesday. "It was a massive thing.

"Losing a final is always really, really hard – we can sing that song – but losing the way they lost it is especially hard. That's what he felt, as well.

"He's happy to be back, but he's disappointed as well – massively so. We spoke obviously, about the tournament, everything, and he will deal with that of course.

"I hope today will be already better, but yesterday everybody could see he still has the final on his mind."

Asked how Salah might respond to the setback as Liverpool still pursue four titles, Klopp replied: "Greater determination than Mo already had? I'm not sure that's human.

"Playing a tournament, not knowing where you'll go to, then qualifying in the hardest possible manner for the final, then against the tournament favourites playing a game like Egypt played, an absolutely great final, if you think about what they all invested already before – both teams – and how hard they fought – especially Egypt, how hard they fought to keep a team like Senegal quiet – yes, that all helps in the long term.

"But I don't think there's a lot of space for more determination in Mo's mind. He is very determined.

"Using these kinds of things is the job for all of us when you lose a final – we are obviously the best example for that.

"When you lose a final, it's really hard, really, really hard. But when you use it for the next big game or next big tournament, then it can be at least helpful when it was still hard.

"He will benefit from it, we will benefit from it, but in which [way] exactly, we do not know."

With Salah in the squad and Mane soon to join him, Klopp is close to having a full complement of players to choose from – although he did add captain Jordan Henderson has a back problem.

Liverpool will be aiming to end a run of two straight league defeats to Leicester, last losing three in a row in this fixture in 1963. No team have beaten Klopp's Reds more often in the top flight during his tenure (four – tied with Manchester City).

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