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This forward will struggle to get back in the Liverpool side in February

By Emma Sanders

Sadio Mane will struggle to get back into the Liverpool starting XI in February because Philippe Coutinho will take his place and Divock Origi won’t be dropped if he carries on his great run of form.

Mane has suffered a dip in form in recent weeks despite making a blistering start to his Anfield career, scoring six goals in his opening 10 league fixtures.

However, Mane will face a battle to get back into the starting XI when he returns from international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations next year.

Coutinho has been absent since November when he picked up an injury in the 2-0 victory against Sunderland but he is set to make a return in January and instead of Origi, it could be Mane who loses his place in the team.

Origi scored his fifth goal in as many games during the 3-0 victory against Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening and he has been excellent since being recalled to the starting XI.

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The 21-year-old is capable of playing as a centre-forward or as a winger so he can play in either position on Coutinho’s return and Mane has scored just once in his last six games despite having a number of chances.

Origi was the most likely option to replace Mane in January anyway, with Sheyi Ojo and Ben Woodburn providing competition, but if the Belgian continues his bright form it will be hard for Jurgen Klopp to drop him. And Klopp is a loyal manager.

Coutinho and Firmino are two of Liverpool’s best players and shouldn’t be dropped so if Origi is performing at this level in January, Mane won’t automatically get back into the side.

In other Liverpool news, Ragnar Klavan should not be criticised as he is not the problem.