Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says moving the Africa Cup of Nations back to January is a catastrophe for the Reds.
The 2021 tournament has been moved from the summer back to January to accommodate host Cameroon’s unfavorable weather.
The decision means Liverpool will lose crucial players, Senegal’s Sadio Mané, Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Guinea’s Naby Keita for a month in the mid-season.
“If we have to make a decision about bringing in a player, it is a massive one,” said the Anfield boss.
“You know for four weeks you don’t have them. As a club you have to think about this. It doesn’t help African players.”
Liverpool are one of a number of Premier League clubs who will lose first-team players.
“I couldn’t respect the Africa Cup of Nations more than I do because I like the competition and watched it a lot in the past. It’s a very interesting tournament,” added Klopp.
“But, it’s an obvious problem that you play a tournament in the middle of the season, although it makes more sense for Africa to play it in our winter when the weather is better for them – I get that.
“But we have absolutely no power – so if we did say ‘We don’t let him go’, the player is suspended.
“If a player is injured and cannot play for us we have to send him to Africa and they have a look and in one or two weeks they are back. Nowadays, it should not be like this.”
The 2019 Cup of Nations in Egypt was the first AFCON tournament to be held in summer after it was originally staged in January and February.
The decision to host the competition in June was widely welcomed by European clubs.
But reverting it back to January means these clubs will be affected because it was in the middle of the season.
However, January AFCON start spells good news for FIFA Club World Cup which will be held in China in June 2021.