Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is hopeful he can hold onto the African stars in his squad a little longer before they report for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Naby Keita are set to link up with their respective countries ahead of the start of the tournament on January 9.
That would mean the trio are ineligible for the Reds’ Boxing Day clash with Leeds as well as trips to Leicester and Chelsea.
But Klopp remains optimistic that a compromise can be reached with the Egypt, Senegal, and Guinea federations to delay the trio’s release.
He said: “It’s not decided yet.
“I am an optimistic person, so I hope so.
“But it’s not written in stone and not completely in our hands.”
Klopp has been in the bad books of a lot of Africans for calling the Afcon “a little tournament in Africa” in the past few weeks.
The delayed 2021 Afcon is scheduled to take off on January 9 and end on February 6, 2021, in Cameroon.