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Liverpool Given Huge Selection Boost Ahead Of Chelsea Visit

Liverpool Given Huge Selection Boost Ahead Of Chelsea Visit
By Gavin Cooney
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If you see a puzzled-looking Jurgen Klopp wandering about over these coming days, he will likely be looking for the set of wheels that had been carting Liverpool to a thrilling title chase. Yet, in January, the wheels have fallen off and the club have faltered abjectly: they have lost three home games in the space of a week, and are now out of both domestic cups and flailing ten points behind leaders Chelsea.

January has been a hideous month for Liverpool: one win in eight games, and that a FA Cup replay away to Plymouth which proved a torturous preamble to yesterday's meek surrender at home to Wolves.

One of the causes of the drop in form has been the absence of Sadio Mané, who hasn't played for the club since January 2nd, having linked up with Senegal for the African Cup of Nations. In his absence, Liverpool's attack has been dreadfully one-paced, and these stats pulled by BT Sport before the Wolves defeat are illuminating:

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A Sadio Mane return is critical for Liverpool, and following Senegal's elimination against Cameroon last night, that will come sooner rather than later: Paul Joyce of the Times today confirming that Liverpool have chartered a private plane for their attacker, and will make the bench against Chelsea on Tuesday.

Exactly what mental state Mane will be in is questionable: it was he who missed the critical penalty in last night's shoot-out defeat, and he was utterly inconsolable afterward.

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