The timeline for Sadio Mané to recover from a hamstring injury always made it look like an appearance for Senegal in the November international break, when they would face South Africa for the chance to head to the World Cup, would be a touch and go thing. In the end, though, Mané was ready to play for his country.
In fact, he was fit enough to play for Liverpool before the break, being given 77 minutes against West Ham in the team’s final match before he headed off with Senegal. Now, though, he’s returned to the club and there are concerns he may have re-aggravated the hamstring injury all had hoped he’d put behind him last week.
"First and foremost, I have to say big congratulations to Senegal on qualifying for the World Cup,” said Jürgen Klopp when asked about his early return. "Personally, I’m delighted for Sadio. Everyone in Liverpool knows his ability, and the best players should be on the best stage so Sadio will now have this wonderful chance.”
“On him returning to Melwood early to be with us, obviously it is a concern that the hamstring injury is again on the agenda. It will be critical for us to monitor and manage in the coming days. What is clear is we will have to stay on top of this for the rest of the week and make sure we are careful in how we look after him.”
Still, it shouldn’t be fortgoten that Mané was fit enough to play for Liverpool before the break. The club also sent a medic off with him to monitor his situation, and there is no suggestion the Senegal national team coaches or training staff did anything that would have made a re-aggravation of Mané’s injury more likely.
As such, Klopp went out of his way to stress that there has been communication between the two sides—and that, more even than that, that everyone has to understand how important it is for the player himself to be able to play in games like his last for Senegal, where he and his teammates won a place at the World Cup.
"There has been really strong communication between ourselves and the Senegal team management to ensure the player is properly protected and looked after,” Klopp added. "We respect how important he is for Senegal and therefore it must always be the case that they get to make the decision when he is under their care.
"It should not be forgotten in Liverpool, either, how important it is to Sadio he represents his country. So in this moment all I can really say with certainty is that we will assess Sadio and make decisions on what rehab and treatment gives him the best chance of being back fit and strong.”