Sadio Mane has had a very, very busy summer. First, leading Liverpool’s charge to clinch their 6th Champions League trophy in the first weekend of June. Then, Sadio went straight away to play for the Senegal National Team in the African Cup of Nations. The star forward led his team to the final where they lost in heartbreaking fashion to Algeria.
Sadio, then, has earned his rest. And following the AFCON final, he’s been absent from team preparations for the impending season.
Come Monday, though, that all ends. Mané is expected to rejoin the group following Sunday’s Community Shield tilt against Manchester City, and ahead of the opening match of the Premier League Campaign against Norwich City.
Liverpool have had a bit of an uneven return during their pre-season, magnifying the importance of their most important players: each of Mané, Alisson, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah went off to play in regional tournaments for their national teams following the Champions League Final. In fact, each of the named players, save Mo, ended up playing in the final of their respective tournaments. Delaying their return to the squad for appropriate rest and recuperation, then, was always going to be necessary.
Thankfully, though, it looks like the squad will be entering this Premier League campaign in relatively good health. With all of the major players who went off on duty returning healthy, that’s an added bonus.
And the gaffer himself thinks that it will take no time at all for Sadio to hop back into training mode.
“How we all know, Sadio had 16 days off – he will be in a good shape. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t eat too much. He had a training programme, maybe after 10 days probably he started with a little bit of running, so I think he will be fine.”
There it is then. Liverpool enter the eve of matches that count with as complete a squad as Jurgen’s had the opportunity to choose from in quite sometime. Bring on the start of the season!