Mane back to bolster Reds
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Senegal's heartbreaking loss in the African Cup of Nations could be Liverpool's gain in the Premier League.
Sadio Mane, Senegal's star player, was in despair after missing the decisive spot kick in a penalty shootout loss to Cameroon in the quarterfinals on Saturday in Gabon.
However, it's likely there were celebrations among Liverpool fans because it means the forward will soon be on his way back to Merseyside to help the team in its stumbling title challenge in the Premier League.
Liverpool sent a private jet to fly Mane back to England but he was not due to land until last night. There's even a chance that Mane will play a part in Liverpool's game against Chelsea today but maybe only from the bench.
"He will be in tomorrow morning and we have to make a decision," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said yesterday. "We have to look in his eyes and see whatever is possible."
The forward's absence has coincided with Liverpool's worst run of results since Klopp took charge in October 2015, with the team winning only one of its seven games in all competitions since Mane left for Senegal duty.
Mane has scored nine league goals in his first season at Liverpool and has been a vital part of the most prolific forward line in the league. Without Mane's energy, Liverpool have looked ponderous going forward and its attacking shape has suffered.
Klopp has been looking for a catalyst to revive Liverpool's season and Mane's return could be it.
Liverpool are 10 points adrift of Chelsea, who have an eight-point lead over second-place Arsenal heading into a full round of midweek matches spread over today and tomorrow.
WEST HAM vs MANCHESTER CITY
Sergio Aguero is a doubt for City tomorrow because of a back injury sustained against Tottenham last week, but City have cover.
Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus made his first start for City in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Saturday, and could keep his place if Aguero isn't fit.
In more positive news for City manager Pep Guardiola, Fernandinho is available again after a four-match suspension and captain Vincent Kompany completed 90 minutes against Palace on his first senior appearance since November following his latest injury setback.
MANCHESTER UNITED vs HULL
These two teams should know each other well.
Wednesday's match will be the third meeting between United and Hull in the past three weeks, after their double-header in the League Cup semi-finals. They shared one victory each, but United advanced on aggregate.
United have not lost in 13 Premier League games and are in sixth place, two points behind fifth-place City and four points behind Liverpool in the final Champions League spot.
In other matches involving contenders for Champions League qualification, Arsenal are at home to Watford today and third-place Tottenham is at last-place Sunderland.