Sadio Mané is nearing on a return to training and is expected to be fully fit and ready to go when the season kicks off in a month. He’s not there yet, though, and that means the club have decided to leave him behind for their upcoming trip to Hong Kong to take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy.
“He is really, really good,” Jürgen Klopp said, updating the 25-year-old Senegalese winger’s status. “He is close. He is closing on coming back to team training. In this moment, we think it will be when we are in Asia, so then it makes no sense to take him because he needs to then do the first steps in team training.
“We will see how we can do it. Maybe some of the U23s will be here so when he can start this training we can use the opportunity, but we have to wait. On Tuesday he was part of the running, and that looked really good. I think he is getting better, but you need to built a little bit of muscle again in the quad and thigh.”
Fitness, rebuilding lost muscle in his leg following the knee injury and subsequent surgery, and then a return to training with some of the U23 players while the first team is off in Asia. Then, if all goes to plan, Mané will rejoin the team in Germany for the second stage of their pre-season tour.
That means the earliest he could make an appearance would be against Hertha Berlin on July 29th or in the Audi Cup on the 1st of August against Bayern Munich, with the target a fully fit player by the time the season kicks off on the 12th of August against Watford.
“There is no risk with him because he is a naturally fit boy and in the moment when he can start to be a real part of the sessions, he will then immediately be fit again,” Klopp added. “We have not all the time in the world, but we have time and we will use it.”