As Liverpool prepare for their biggest fixture of the last decade, an interesting development has emerged regarding how the holy month of Ramadan may impact the Champions League final.
The Reds booked their place in the Kiev showdown after bettering Roma over two legs, which resulted in an incredible 13 goals over the course of the ties.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will now play for the chance to win a sixth European cup and add to the club’s illustrious history, though will be counting on the likes of deadly front men Mane and Salah to fire them to glory.
The front pairing, along with the soon to be returning Emre Can, are each practising Muslims who adhere to the month-long period of fasting each year – one of the five pillars of Islam.
With Ramadan beginning on Tuesday, May 15, and lasting until Thursday, June 14 the Kiev showdown takes place in the middle, posing the question of how the elite level athletes will be affected by the dramatic shift in their dietary habits and nourishment. The holy period, which marks the ninth month of the Muslim year and the window in which the Quran – or Koran – was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad by Allah, will be 11 days in by the time the Champions League final comes around.
In this period practising Muslims cannot eat or drink during daylight hours, from dawn through until sunset.
WHAT IS RAMADAN?
A month of fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. This was stated as a ruling of Islam in 624 AD.
The ninth month of the Muslim calendar, Ramadan is said to mean ‘burning/scorching heat’ in Arabic as it usually falls within a particularly hot time of year in that part of the world.
Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the mandatory acts that form the foundation of Muslim life.
The other pillars are faith, prayer, charity and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Fasting means abstaining from food, drink, smoking, sex, swearing, gossip or other sinful acts, during daylight hours.
Meals are served before dawn and after sunset.
The meal before dawn is called sufur, the one after sunset is known as iftar.
Out in Kiev, sunset will occur at around just before 9pm local time on the day of the final – approximately 50 minutes before kick-off.
Options do exist however, with players able to miss a day of fasting and make it up before the next period of Ramadan, though it remains unknown how the Liverpool trio will approach the matter, depending on their individual beliefs.
During an interview in December 2016, Mane spoke of his devotion to his religion, and the importance it plays within his life.
‘Religion is very important to me. I respect the rules of Islam and I pray five times a day, always,’ said the Senegalese maestro.
As for Salah, during his Chelsea days the Egyptian admitted he found it tough balancing Ramadan with a pre-season schedule. The holy month falling later on the year in question due to the changing lunar cycle.
‘Ramadan was a bit difficult for me because we had two training sessions every day, the weather was very hot and I played in every game,’ Salah told the club website.
‘I wasn’t even able to drink water until 9.30pm. Although I am used to it, it’s finished now and I can eat and drink as normal.
‘When you train twice a day, your energy levels drop by the second session, but it means a lot to me so I’m very happy and I feel good.’
A fellow Liverpool player has a light-hearted solution to the matter however, insisting he will take up the eating duties for all.
Speaking recently to El Partidazo, full-back Alberto Moreno playfully suggested: ‘I think Salah trains at 20 per cent because he’s scared of injuring himself. Now it’s Ramadan, I’ll eat and drink for him, that’s something I can do!’