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Headache for EPL coaches as AFCON returns to January

Coach of table toppers Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp could be handed a selection headache next January, with the Africa Cup of Nations moving back to a January start date.

The tournament was moved to the summer months following a decision by their executive committee in 2017 with the 2019 staging taking place in Egypt from June into July.

However, after just one tournament there is talk of it being switched back to its original January-February format for Cameroon 2021.

Reports on Wednesday suggested that the topic would be discussed when the executive committee meet in Yaounde, Cameroon, and president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad has hinted that the move would be preferable.

According to Ahram Online, this is due to the temperature and weather being more favourable in the earlier part of the year, while it would also appease FIFA by no longer clashing with the revamped Club World Cup which is due to kick-off in 2021.

Leicester city duo Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi could be in action for Nigeria

The decision leaves a host of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, without some of their star players for up to six matches.

Liverpool, for example would be without their star men Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who represent Senegal and Egypt respectively. They would not be the only notable absentees either; with Naby Keita set to head to the tournament should Guinea qualify.

Arsenal would also be in trouble, with striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang representing Gabon. Nicolas Pepe could reach the tournament with the Ivory Coast, too.

Read AlsoTension as CAF set to move AFCON 2021 kick-off date

Nigerian players whose managers will have to ways of covering up until they return from the Nations cup includeLeon Balogun (Brighton) Alex Iwobi (Everton) Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester)and Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester)

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