With Sadio Mané’s Africa Cup of Nations run ending in a disappointing loss to Algeria in the final on Friday, a three week summer break would have meant the player wouldn’t be back with the club until August 9th—the same day they kick off their Premier League season.
Word from the club and Jürgen Klopp today, though, has Mané instead returning nearly a week early, immediately following the Community Shield against Manchester City August 4th, giving Mané the week in training before the league opener against Norwich City.
“He is in good shape,” Klopp noted after speaking to the 27-year-old. “He is now on holiday, not the longest one—he will be back on August 5, after the Manchester City game. That means two weeks. There is four or five days to prepare for Norwich, 10 days for Chelsea.”
Short break or not—and hopefully it’s not a short break the club come to regret later in the season—a start against Norwich seems out of the question for Mané, though a bench appearance is perhaps likely, which wouldn’t have been the case with a three-week break.
Liverpool’s mid-week Super Cup tie against Chelsea that follows on the 14th is also probably too soon for a start, but Mané could be given a half in that one and depending on his progression could get his first start against Southampton on the 17th or Arsenal on the 24th.