Premier League clubs will lose key players to international duty over the next few weeks.
The Asia Cup in Qatar runs from January 12 to February 10, while the Africa Cup of Nations will be held in Ivory Coast from January 13 to February 11.
Here the PA news agency looks at how those tournaments could impact domestic football during a busy time of Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup action, and discover who are the big winners and losers.
Oh Mo, Salah’s away
Study the stats and it is easy to see why Liverpool fans have every right to be concerned. Mohamed Salah tops the list for Premier League goal involvements with 22 – 14 goals and eight assists. Salah registered a 150th Premier League goal for Liverpool with a brace in the New Year’s Day win over Newcastle, and his absence comes with the Reds top of the pile, in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup and ready to get their FA Cup campaign underway. Just for good measure, Liverpool will be without Japan midfielder Wataru Endo over the next few weeks.
Spurs without Son
Tottenham have maintained their unexpected title bid despite a lengthy injury list, but can they cope without talismanic skipper Son Heung-min? The South Korea captain heads to the Asia Cup with Spurs fifth in the Premier League, a point behind neighbours Arsenal and Manchester City and six adrift of Liverpool. Son’s importance is underlined by his 12 league goals – only Salah and Erling Haaland have scored more – while Spurs will also be weakened by AFCON-bound midfielders Pape Sarr and Yves Bissouma.
Premier League losers
If Liverpool and Tottenham are missing headline acts, there are plenty of other losers. Manchester United will be without their first-choice goalkeeper, Cameroon’s Andre Onana, and Turkey international Altay Bayindir is set to make his debut in his absence. Wolves will also feel the loss of South Korea’s Hwang Hee-chan, their 10-goal top scorer, while Antoine Semenyo (Bournemouth), Yoane Wissa (Brentford), Nicolas Jackson (Chelsea), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace), Alex Iwobi (Fulham) and Mohammed Kudus (West Ham) are among high-profile AFCON players, while Nottingham Forest have no less than six players at the tournament.
South Africa striker Lyle Foster will miss AFCON as he focuses on his well being. Foster has received specialist care for his mental health this season and did not play for eight weeks before returning last month. Burnley boss Vincent Kompany said Foster was not ready to travel to represent his country. But he will be available for the Clarets, and that spells good news as the 23-year-old scored his first goal since his return to action at Aston Villa on Saturday.
Champions City and Newcastle unaffected
As well as Burnley in their battle against relegation, champions Manchester City and Newcastle do not have any players away on international duty. Pep Guardiola’s City will hope to take advantage of a Salah-less Liverpool, as Arsenal cope without Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny and Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu. Aston Villa have only lost Burkina Faso’s Bertrand Traore. Newcastle boss Eddie Howe will be relieved his squad has not been weakened further as he seeks to engineer a New Year revival on Tyneside amid worrying injury issues.