Ian Rush - Senegal's Sadio Mane 'will be missed' during Nations Cup
Former Liverpool striker Ian Rush, currently on a visit to Mauritius, says Senegal's Sadio Mane 'will be missed' when he participates at the Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off on 14 January in Gabon.
Mane is enjoying an impressive season with the Reds and Rush has spoken of the player's importance to the team.
"He will be missed because he has been fantastic up to now this season, not only for his goals but also for his assists," Rush told BBC Sport.
"The sign of a good team is how well a player is being replaced. We missed Coutinho but we are still winning.
"We'll be getting Daniel Sturridge to replace Mane but we can't wait to get him back because he is a valuable member of the squad" added the Liverpool legend.
55-year-old Rush also commented on Joel Matip's decision not to play for Cameroon at the Nations Cup.
"It is difficult to say, I think he has his reason to do that. This is an individual thing and I think it is great from Liverpool's point of view," Rush explained.
"The African Nation Cup is a great thing and he just wants to show, maybe, that he is desperate to do well for Liverpool Football Club."
Rush, who is still Liverpool's all-time leading scorer with a record 346 goals in 660 appearances, has been representing the club on a visit to Mauritius in his role as an ambassador.
He says he has seen at first hand how popular both the Premier League and Liverpool are in Africa.
"You go on a small island, and then you realise that they are more fanatical there - like in Mauritius. It is amazing.
"We need to look at Africa, at the Islands - they love football and Liverpool - and we try to give them something back" the former Wales international added.
He harbours ambitions for Liverpool to finish in the top four this season and win a trophy.
"I would be most happy with that, but I can be sure that Manchester United will not win the league this year. I tip Chelsea."