Why Liverpool's Form Is Expected to Tank Even More After the International Break

The international break will have been far from stress-free for Jurgen Klopp. It could have provided him with a welcome break of two weeks to devise a plan that could reignite Liverpool’s season, but instead it has presented him with more problems.

Ahead of facing in-form Manchester United on Saturday lunchtime, the team that has won 4-0 in four of its seven league games this season, Klopp has been dealt a major blow with his team selection.

Sadio Mane, Liverpool’s best player so far this season, suffered a hamstring injury during Senegal’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Cape Verde last week, which now looks likely to keep him sidelined for six weeks, potentially missing seven games.

Of the lethal trident at the top of Klopp’s team, alongside Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, Mane has been the sharpest and most lethal element. This comes as no surprise following his glittering debut season at Anfield during the last campaign, after joining from Southampton.

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He scored 15 goals in 32 appearances last season, two of which came in January for Senegal when Mane was away from Liverpool at the African Cup of Nations, a period Klopp will recall worryingly.

Before Mane left for Gabon, the host nation of the tournament, Liverpool was purring. It had four wins from its last five games and was second in the Premier League. By the time Mane returned four weeks later, Liverpool was out of the League Cup and had fallen behind Spurs in the league table, winning just one game in seven—against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup third round. So Klopp has reason to be worried about life without his talisman.

The German will hope that Philippe Coutinho continues his impressive return to the team, after demanding a transfer in the summer with the Brazilian scoring three goals in his last three games. But this is a crucial period of the season for Liverpool.

In the next six weeks, Liverpool faces must-win games in the Champions League, plus United and Spurs in the league. How Klopp could do with another international break right about now.

Jurgen Klopp Jürgen Klopp at Moscow's Otkrytije Arena on September 26. Dan Mullan/Getty