Sadio Mané’s substitution in the second half against Chelsea seemed a bit of an odd one, especially at a time when other players appeared to be struggling with their energy levels.
After the match, though, Jürgen Klopp revealed that while many of his teammates appeared visibly tied, Mané was himself struggling with a dead leg, forcing his removal—and Gini Wijnaldum having to push up to cover the wing.
“It was a knock on the bone, around the knee, and a dead leg,” Klopp noted. “That’s an awful combination. He tried everything but there was one counter situation when I would say on a non-dead-leg day he will get that ball.
“Then we say, ‘Come on, now we have to do it,’ and changed. That’s it.”
In the end, things worked out for the Reds, even if they struggled to reestablish themselves in the game following Mané’s removal, and now with MK Dons up on Wednesday, hopefully the player will be given a well-deserved rest.
Klopp and Liverpool may want to win every game they play, but the league and Champions League are the priorities, and with many looking tired towards the end against Chelsea, it’s time to give the starters the week off.
Hopefully, then, Mané will be given Wednesday off. And hopefully, too, every player who started on Sunday against Chelsea will be watching from the stands along with him.
Liverpool have enough depth—and enough players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren and Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri and Rhian Brewster who could really use the minutes—to do that.
It may have only been a dead leg for Mané, but it’s going to be a very busy season for him and the rest of Sunday’s starters, and Wednesday should be a chance for them to get a bit of rest for what’s to come.