Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he respects Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane's decision to travel to Ghana for the CAF Awards in Ghana on Thursday, despite the Merseyside derby 24 hours after the ceremony.
The pair were shortlisted in the final three for the coveted award, which rewards the outstanding African player in a calendar year.
Ahead of the ceremony on Thursday, there were concerns about the timing of the event and the big clash against fierce rivals Everton but manager of Liverpool Jurgen Klopp insists, he had to let the players leave out of respect for the ceremony.
“We have everything organised,” said Klopp. “We have two of the three best African players in our squad. We have to show them respect.”
“If it had been a matchday, they wouldn’t have asked (to go). We sleep in a hotel the night before a game, they will sleep in a plane. That is all the difference.”
The former Dortmund Coach found himself in similar position when he had Pierre Emerick Augbamayeng- the third contender for the award- in his squad some few years ago. According to Jurgen Klopp, respect must be accorded to the ceremony.
“For our side, it is just a sign of respect. I know it, I had (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang at Borussia Dortmund and there is nothing more important than to go there.”
Sadio Mane scored as Liverpool beat Burnley on New year's day in the English premier League but Mohammed Salah was left out of the squad after picking a slight groin injury.
Klopp added, if Salah is out of the Merseyside derby, it will not be for the 6 hour trip to Ghana for the Awards.
"If Mo is not fit, it will not be for that," Klopp said.
Mohammed Salah is favourite to win the award after scoring 23 goals in 29 appearances for Liverpool since joining from AS Roma in the summer and leading Egypt to the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
Meanwhile, Sadio Mane was an important part of the Liverpool side that finished fourth last season and helped Senegal qualify for the World Cup in Russia.
The award ceremony will be held in Accra on Thursday at the Accra International Conference Center.
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