Liverpool's Mohammed Salah (right) and Sadio Mane (left) will be key misses for the Merseyside club
Liverpool's Mohammed Salah (right) and Sadio Mane (left) will be key misses for the Merseyside club

The Africa Cup of Nations will kick off 2022 with a bang as the continent's brightest stars collide.

Up to 39 players representing 16 different Premier League clubs will travel to Cameroon to represent their countries.

The selection of multiple top talents for AFCON 2021 has caused some concern for parent clubs — as those who progress to the latter stages could miss up to six weeks of the domestic season. 

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Edouard Mendy are among the Premier League absentees as the best of Africa compete for glory.

The tournament officially starts on January 9 and concludes on February 6 — however, clubs will have to release their players after the Boxing Day fixtures.

This means some players may miss a total of eight games across the Premier League and FA Cup should their countries reach the final. 

Liverpool are just one club who have been in talks with nations participating in the tournament in the hopes of releasing some of their key players later than initially expected.

Key Premier League games during AFCON 2021

Liverpool and Chelsea will meet in early January
Liverpool and Chelsea will meet in early January

Perhaps the most important fixture of the season so far, Chelsea's clash with Liverpool on January 2 could be crucial for the title race.

Salah, Mane and Naby Keita will be missing for Liverpool, while Mendy will be on Senegal duty during the Stamford Bridge clash.

Another key fixture during this period comes in the form of Tottenham vs Arsenal on January 15 where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe and Mohamed Elneny are all set to be absent for the visitors, whereas Spurs will have no representatives at AFCON 2021.

On January 15, Chelsea host Manchester City in yet another top-of-the-table clash — City will only be missing Riyad Mahrez for the match, which will be a relief for Pep Guardiola.

Expected Premier League players at AFCON 2021

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy will be a huge loss for the Blues
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy will be a huge loss for the Blues

Only four Premier League teams — Leeds, Newcastle, Norwich and Spurs are set to have no representatives at AFCON 2021.

Below is the full list of players who are likely to miss the first few Premier League games of 2022.

Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

Thomas Partey (Ghana)

Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)

Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)

Aston Villa

Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso)

Trezeguet (Egypt)

Marvelous Nakamba (Zimbabwe)

Brentford

Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Ghana)

Frank Onyeka (Nigeria)

Julian Jeanvier (Guinea)

Brighton

Yves Bissouma (Mali)

Burnley 

Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast)

Chelsea

Edouard Mendy (Senegal)

Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has been instrumental for the Eagles this season
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has been instrumental for the Eagles this season

Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)

Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana)

Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)

Jordan Ayew (Ghana)

Everton 

Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)

Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Ivory Coast)

Leicester

Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria)

Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)

Daniel Amartey (Ghana)

Nampalys Mendy (Senegal)

Liverpool

Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

Naby Keita (Guinea)

Sadio Mane (Senegal)

Manchester City

Riyad Mahrez is the only Manchester City player who will leave for AFCON 2021
Riyad Mahrez is the only Manchester City player who will leave for AFCON 2021

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

Manchester United

Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast)

Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast)

Southampton 

Mohammed Salisu (Ghana)

Moussa Djenepo (Mali)

Watford

Ismaila Sarr (Senegal)

Emmanuel Dennis (Nigeria)

Peter Etebo (Nigeria)

William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria)

Adam Masina (Morocco)

Tags

Premier LeagueAfrica Cup of Nations 1Sadio ManeMohamed SalahPierre-Emerick AubameyangRiyad MahrezEdouard MendyWilfried ZahaHakim ZiyechArsenalAston VillaBurnleyBrentfordChelseaBrighton & Hove AlbionEvertonLiverpoolManchester UnitedManchester CityCrystal PalaceLeedsSouthamptonWolverhampton WanderersWatfordWest Ham UnitedLeicester CityCameroonBurkina FasoEthiopiaCape VerdeSenegalZimbabweGuineaMalawiMoroccoGhanaComorosGabonNigeriaEgyptSudanGuinea-BissauAlgeriaSierra LeoneEquatorial GuineaIvory CoastTunisiaMaliGambiaMauritania

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