Because when it rains, it pours. Indispensable forward Sadio Mané had to come off the field less than an hour into the match and looking less than pleased, dampening the euphoria of yesterday’s win over Everton at Anfield. Divock Origi’s goal upon deputizing for the Senegalese international not only sealed victory for Liverpool, but also lifted some of the gloom that was creeping in after Mané’s injury. Liverpool supporters know what life is like without Sadio, and it generally hasn’t been all that glorious.
Immediately following the match, manager Jürgen Klopp all but confirmed the obvious: namely, that Mané will not feature in the midweek grudge match against Bournemouth, when Liverpool will attempt to purge the memory of that ludicrous loss at the Vitality Stadium in December. The bigger question, and one that as yet hasn’t been clearly answered, is how long Liverpool will have to do without Mané’s services in these crucial final weeks.
“When I saw him in the dressing room, it didn’t look like he’ll be ready for Wednesday,” said Klopp soon after the match. “We will see, hopefully it’s not that serious, but of course it’s not nothing and that makes our life not easier, I would say.”
While it looked as though it might have been an awkward ankle issue, the particular nature of the injury and its severity were not things that Klopp was able to shed light on, and the true bill will likely not be known until the inevitable scan is conducted. Klopp’s words, however, left plenty of room for overactive Liverpool supporters to let their imaginations run wild.
“I don’t know exactly, I don’t want to speculate now. Obviously he has pain and it didn’t look like it’s only a knock or a muscle or something, but we have to wait. When I came in I was looking for him immediately and I saw him on the bed. He’d already had treatment, and it didn’t look like he felt really comfortable.”
With another key player in Adam Lallana already facing a prolonged absence, Mané’s spell on the sidelines could very well determine Liverpool’s top four fate. There are some talented youngsters waiting in the wings, but it will be a big ask to expect any of them to provide the same spark that Mané brings.