Liverpool secured their first three points of the season at Anfield this weekend with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. The Reds’ single goal came from Sadio Mané who took a Palace defensive error and, literally, ran with it. The goal was a thrilling moment of quick thinking, and Klopp was as taken with it as the rest of us.
“Sadio made a decision at the end which is very important,” Klopp said after the game. “He’s there in those situations. It’s not the same goal but it was a little bit like the Everton goal (at Goodison), quickest in mind.”
“Everyone thinks about how quick he is with his legs and that’s true, but he’s quick in mind — that’s maybe the more impressive skill.”
Mané sustained a knee injured in April of last year and was forced to sit out the rest of the season. Having him back on the pitch doing what he does best is a huge boost to the team and the fans alike, but Klopp doesn’t want anyone to get too carried away.
“The biggest thing the team did last year was getting fourth without Sadio for pretty much half a year, I wasn’t sure how long it was exactly but it was long,” he said, failing to ask any of us who’d been meticulously crossing the days off of our calendars for a more accurate estimate. “He’s made a big step but as you can imagine, I’m not too happy about singing the big song about a player that early in the season.“
“But he is important, everybody can see now he can change a game. Sadio can learn so much still, that’s really good.”
As the season continues, it’ll be worth watching Mané continue to develop as a player and seeing just how much Klopp will lean on him as the central figure on the team.