Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita will now depart for the African Cup of Nations and will miss at least the Reds' next three matches. Their absence could increase should their national teams advance in the tournament.
Pep Lijnders explained why this is not a cause for concern for the Reds (via Sky Sports): "It's not a worry, we have faith in the boys we have. We know some can play more offensively.
"We can try to plan this but you can never prepare. I told the boys - Naby, Mo, Sadio - they should try to win the AFCON, it's a prize to catch and careers aren't long.
"They are African legends for me but they can be even bigger legends if they win the AFCON. Some of the boys are planned to come back [from injury and COVID]. We could have made excuses today but we didn't and it's a positive point."
Virgil van Dijk added when asked about Salah and the others' absences: "Fantastic footballer, we will miss him now obviously, but we wish him well in the Africa Cup of Nations, same to Sadio Mane and Naby Keita."
It's hard to be as optimistic about their departures as Lijnders is! The Reds next three league games are against Brentford, Crystal Palace and Leicester City - Salah and co will be back for the match against the Foxes, which is on February 11.
We wish them all the best but do hope they return safe and sound from AFCON.
Source: Sky Sports