By Dominic Toner

Gary Gillespie believes that Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane would be the biggest loss to the side if they were to lose any player.

Mane, 24, has enjoyed a fantastic start with the Reds since his summer arrival and forged a dangerous attack with Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino.

The attacking trio have been in sensational form in front of goal this season, scoring 18 goals between them in all competitions, and perfectly match the high intensity of manager Jurgen Klopp.

Former Liverpool player Gillespie was asked which Liverpool player would be the biggest loss to the team and responded in emphatic fashion.

“Mane, because he gives them something they don’t have, which is pace and ability to take people on and beat people,” Gillespie told BBC Radio 5 live. “He stretches the game, not just the width of the park but the length of the park, none of the other ones do that. You have Coutinho who for me when he is playing poorly has too many touches… Lallana is exactly the same… but for me Mane is the key to them and will be a big loss when he goes to the Africa Cup of Nations.”

The Merseyside club completed the transfer of Mane from Southampton in the summer and he has enjoyed a blistering start at Anfield.

The attacker has scored all six of his Liverpool goals in the Premier League and helped them reach the summit of the table, currently one point ahead of Chelsea in second-place.

He is set to miss some of the club’s fixtures in January as he joins up with Senegal for the Africa Cup of Nations, but Klopp could turn to forwards Daniel Sturridge of Divock Origi as his replacement.

In other Liverpool news, Loris Karius has sent a message to the club’s supporters on Instagram.