Saturday 17 February 2018

Mane gives Liverpool big boost for Leicester test

Sadio Mane will be hoping to maintain his early-season form against Leicester. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Sadio Mane will be hoping to maintain his early-season form against Leicester. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool striker Sadio Mane has emerged unscathed from an injury scare while playing for Senegal over the weekend.

Mane was withdrawn as a precautionary measure having played an hour of his country's 2-0 win over Namibia.

There were initially some suggestions he'd suffered a knee injury. Indeed, such was the anxiety of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp he called the player to get his own update.

The good news for Liverpool is Mane has no ill effects and informed his manager he is 100pc fit for Saturday's Premier League match against Leicester at Anfield.

Indeed, Mane reported for training at Melwood as expected yesterday morning, Liverpool eager to reassure supporters their £30m signing is fine.

It is a measure of how swiftly Mane has settled at Anfield - and how productive his early performances have been - that such a scare caused consternation from the manager downwards.


Mane has played only three games for his new club, but has shone in all of them. There is no doubt that despite his price tag he is proving himself the most outstanding of the summer recruits.

In the one match he was unavailable - the defeat against Burnley - Liverpool were a shadow of the side they have been in fixtures against Arsenal, Spurs and Burton Albion.

Klopp will be hoping to have his strongest line-up available, but he will have to wait until Thursday to check on the fitness of Philippe Coutinho, who faces a long trip back from Manaus in the Amazon rainforest after Brazil's World Cup qualifier against Colombia.

Compatriot Lucas Leiva, who was not selected for his national team, believes Klopp has assembled a strong squad for the campaign ahead despite not adding to it on deadline day.

"I think it's clear that we have very good players in every single position - and not just one good player, I would say we have two teams you could put out to get you results," he said.

"Of course the Premier League is very difficult but I think the squad we have, with the new players who have made us stronger; hopefully it's going to be a very good season for the club.

"I think it's an okay beginning. We've played three games away from home in a row, and against two teams who will challenge for the title (Arsenal and Tottenham), so it's not bad.

"But we need to get points and win games in a row as soon as possible because we want to be higher in the table."

A significant week beckons for the club as they prepare for their first home game of the season, and also the inaugural fixture in front of their £115m Main Stand.

It was in 1999 the club first announced the desperate need to either upgrade Anfield or move to a new venue in Stanley Park.

It was an issue that ultimately forced former chairman David Moores to sell because he could not fund a scheme, and also led to swift downfall of the ill-fated regime of Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, who bought Liverpool with the ambition of building a new stadium.

Fenway Sports Group vowed to renovate Anfield when buying the club in 2010, completing phase one with an interest-free loan. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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