Despite spending a considerable time on the sidelines this season due to injuries and a red card, Liverpool’s Sadio Mané remains a pivotal part of Klopp’s set-up. His pace, power, and goal-scoring ability earned him the Liverpool Player of the Year award in his debut season and have helped him become integral for both club and country.
In an interesting interview with Goal’s Melissa Reddy, Mané talked about many topics, including his happiness at Liverpool and his appreciation for new teammate Mohamed Salah.
“From the first day, they have shown me that we are a family,” Mané said of joining the Reds.
“If you want to be successful when you play, you have to be free in your mind and that happens if you know that everything is taken care of - you just focus on the football. I have a good relationship with everyone off the pitch and you can see that it follows on the pitch too. It makes things easier and, if we are all together, we get stronger as individuals too.
“The support from the fans is also important, when you feel loved and like they are really behind you, it’s like you can achieve anything.”
Fans clamored behind the entertaining winger from the moment his first league goal hit the back of the net, in last season’s league opener away to Arsenal. He hit the ground running and didn’t look back, scoring 12 goals and combining with Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino up front to form a formidable attacking threat that propelled Liverpool back into the Champions League.
This season, Liverpool’s front line became even more dangerous with the introduction of Mohamed Salah, the lightning-fast Egyptian winger who has already equaled Mané’s last season goal tally.
Salah, who is also Mané’s competition for the CAF African Player of the Year award, has made quite an impression on his teammate.
“Mo is a great lad and an incredible player,” he said.
“It is good that he has settled in so easily and there is so much more still to come from him. We get on well and I enjoy playing with him, but that’s the same with everyone. We have a very exciting team and we all want to help the club be successful.”
Regarding Mané’s move to the left side of the front three to accommodate Salah, Mané said, “It doesn’t matter to me which position I have to be in because I have played in all the attacking roles - right, left, as the No.10, second striker and No. 9.
“My job is the same wherever I am on the pitch - I have to always be an option, to be aggressive and direct, to be a defender too and to help us play quicker.”
Liverpool fans are holding their collective breath as they wait to see if the hamstring strain that sent Mané back to Melwood early will mean more time on the sidelines for the player. As it stands, he remains doubtful to make an appearance when the Reds take on his former club, Southampton, on Saturday.