Mane determined not to get carried away by explosive start to Liverpool career
Published 11/09/2016 | 15:46
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is relishing the prospect of scaring defenders with his blistering pace.
The Senegal international has already begun to justify the £30million price tag which accompanied his summer move from Southampton with another impressive performance in the 4-1 win over Premier League champions Leicester.
It was certainly enjoyed by the club's principal owner John W Henry, who on his way to speak to the players in the dressing room afterwards, remarked: "That was some football, hey?"
Mane scored to make it 2-0 and made the fourth goal for Roberto Firmino, his second of the match, but it was the sheer speed and directness of his attacks which caused the Foxes numerous problems.
"I will be happy if they are afraid of me because it will make it easier for me," said the softly-spoken 24-year-old, who received a standing ovation when he was substituted late on, having quickly become a crowd favourite. He is already being compared to the likes of John Barnes.
Mane added: "When you are new it can sometimes be difficult to adapt into the team. But it is easy with great players like Daniel (Sturridge), Philippe (Coutinho) and Roberto (Firmino) as well.
"When you play in a stadium like Anfield you want to give your best and get an ovation at the end, so I try.
"I'm just pleased because it is a great compliment to be compared to the legendary players, but I am still young and learning and need to give my best for the team.
"Yes, I am in a good way, but you have to work. That work started on the day I signed and now I have to keep going in training and show it every game."
Liverpool's delayed first appearance of the season at Anfield was as a result of building work being completed on the new Main Stand and the performance was a fitting way to celebrate the opening of the £115million structure.
Firmino (two), Mane and Adam Lallana scored the hosts' goals and they were only briefly troubled when stand-in centre-back Lucas Leiva panicked on the ball and inexplicably passed to the unmarked Jamie Vardy six yards out.
It was a sobering evening for Leicester, who have lost twice already this season, having been defeated just three times in their title-winning campaign.
A successful defence was always going to be tough considering the resources available to other clubs and the fact they are one of the teams to be shot at now, but goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel does not believe teams are trying harder because of who they are.
"No, I don't get that sense at all," he said.
"(Against) Arsenal (in the 0-0 draw) we should have had a penalty, they should have had a man sent off. (In the 2-1 loss to) Hull we weren't at it, simple as that. Swansea (which Leicester won 2-1) we were good, but we should have closed the game and not let it get so open.
"We have to make sure we apply ourselves as we did against Arsenal and Swansea and we'll be fine.
"Liverpool were very expansive. They move the ball very quickly, have pace to burn on the wings as well and they cut inside a lot and it is very difficult to defend against.
"They were a little bit better than us and we didn't reach the standard we know we can. They punished us."
Things will not get any easier as Leicester try to juggle the demands of the Champions League, which begins for them this week with a trip to face Club Brugge.
But midfielder Danny Drinkwater welcomed the onset of European football.
"The quicker we can get over this the better," he said.
"We will take the positives away from the game, if there are any, and look at the negatives.
"We have a Champions League game to look forward to, we will wipe the slate clean and work on that.
"We won't dwell on this. The gaffer will make sure of that. We have a good team spirit here and it helps in moments like this, where you have been beaten."