FRANCEVILLE (GABON) • No sooner had Sadio Mane missed a decisive penalty that enabled Cameroon to knock fancied Senegal out of the Africa Cup of Nations in the quarter-finals on Saturday, Liverpool arranged for their star man to return to Anfield.
According to The Telegraph, Liverpool's owners Fenway Sports Group put him on a private jet, giving manager Jurgen Klopp every chance of fielding the forward against leaders Chelsea in the Premier League tomorrow.
While Mane can attempt to revive the Reds' title challenge, Senegal's bid to win the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time is over.
Cameroon beat Senegal 5-4 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes, and will join Burkina Faso in the last four.
Number of wins Liverpool have recorded in seven matches since Sadio Mane left for the Africa Cup of Nations. The Reds' win rate with the forward this season is 71.43 per cent.
Goals Liverpool scored while Mane was on international duty - an average of 0.71 goals per game. With Mane, Jurgen Klopp's men averaged 2.62 goals per game.
Winners of the tie between Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ghana and the clash between Morocco and Egypt, will complete the semi-finals lineup.
Mane - Liverpool's top scorer in the Premier League this season with nine goals - was the only player to miss from the spot in the shootout, with Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa saving his effort from 12 yards.
Vincent Aboubakar then stepped up to score and take the Indomitable Lions through.
Cameroon, who also beat Senegal on penalties in the 2002 final, can now look forward to the semi-finals against either DRC or Ghana on Thursday.
It is the first time Cameroon have reached the last-four since 2008, when they lost to Egypt in the final in Ghana.
"We have the possibility to write a beautiful page in our history and we do not want to stop here," Cameroon captain Benjamin Moukandjo told Canal Plus Afrique.
Senegal's departure follows those of holders Ivory Coast and fancied favourite Algeria, leaving the outcome of the three-week long tournament wide open.
Their elimination also means the three men who made up the podium for the 2016 African Footballer of the Year award have all been knocked out, with Mane joining Algeria's Riyad Mahrez and Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in heading for the exit.