The curse of the international break may have struck again. Sadio Mané had just made a surprising and successful return from a hamstring injury last weekend against West Ham before shipping out to Senegal to help the country qualify for their first World Cup since 2002. Liverpool sent one of their physios with him to make sure there were no major setbacks and Klopp even mentioned his hopes of having Mané back early should the country win their first qualifier, meaning Mané would be unnecessary in the second match.
If both of those things sound jinx-y, it’s because they are. You can guess which one came to pass.
Sadio was instrumental in the 2-0 win on Friday against South Africa that ensured Senegal would have a spot in the upcoming World Cup, providing an assist to the opening goal of the game. He then had a close range shot blocked just before halftime, only for the ball to rebound off the head of a South African defender into the net.
Then Sunday evening the Senegalese FA released a statement, confirming that Mané had been allowed to return to Liverpool early - and here it is - because of an “old injury.”
“The Senegalese Football Federation informs the national and international opinion that, following the match South Africa against Senegal on Friday, November 10, 2017, in Polokwane, the player Sadio Mané was slightly felt (sic) from his old injury.
“After consultations between the medical staff of the national team of Senegal and Liverpool, it was decided by mutual agreement to make it available to his club to continue treatment until full recovery.”
Mané won’t be fully assessed until he returns to Melwood, as there are no other public details available. Scott McAuley was the physio Liverpool sent to Senegal to monitor Mané and has provided detailed feedback of the winger’s fitness and training through the international break, but could only do so much away from the club. Fingers crossed that any issue that has arisen is a minor one and he won’t be missing much, if any, more of the season. Liverpool meet Southampton next weekend and hope to build on the momentum they’d started before the break.