KEY POINTS

  • Sadio Mane and Mo Salah recently returned from AFCON
  • Senegal defeated Egypt in the final to win their maiden AFCON trophy
  • Liverpool to take on Inter Milan in UCL's Round of 16 on Wednesday

Jurgen Klopp has revealed why his twin "force of nature" Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah are in top condition even after playing seven games at the recently-concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Mane scored the winning penalty and led Senegal to their maiden AFCON title in Cameroon earlier this month. Unfortunately, he had his Liverpool teammate Salah on the losing side. 

Both the star forwards recently missed as many as six games for Liverpool, across all competitions and returned for their trip to Burnley in the Premier League. 

Ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Italy for their Champions League Round of 16 tie against Inter Milan, Klopp explained that one of the key reasons that has kept Salah and Mane fresh despite their grueling games in Cameroon is that the duo does not drink alcohol. 

“A week is now no problem. Both boys don’t drink alcohol, so that major problem you have if you celebrate a big thing, that kills or extends the recovery time, isn’t there. They don’t drink, so they were fit the day after the game. Both are a force of nature, and hopefully, they stay like that forever! For Mo, it was a few days [off after Afcon], Sadio a week because there were celebrations in between which was fine, but no, I am not surprised,” Klopp told reporters on the eve of his side’s UCL fixture, according to Goal

Salah and Mane - as well as teammate Naby Keita - are Muslim, hence, they refrain from drinking alcohol at all times as part of their faith.

Liverpool striker Sadio Mane (left) celebrates his goal against Southampton Sadio Mane and Mo Salah could come face to face in the AFCON final on Sunday. Photo: POOL / Paul ELLIS

When Liverpool lifted their maiden Premier League trophy in 2020, it was later revealed that the celebratory champagne they sprayed during the trophy presentation at Anfield was non-alcoholic, out of respect for their faith.

“The champagne was non-alcoholic with the trophy lift because of Mo and Sadio. Within the dressing rooms there's none of that [intolerance] so why isn't that the case in the outside world?” Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson had said in an interview.

Liverpool are unbeaten in the Champions League as they won all their six group games. Klopp’s side will look to continue to dominate in the European competition ahead of their clash with Inter Milan at San Siro on Wednesday. 

In the 2021-22 Premier League, the Reds are placed second with 54 points. They are nine points behind table-toppers Manchester City but the Anfield side has a game in hand.