Before he came on in the 75th minute, Sadio Mané injected fear into the hearts of Liverpool supporters when he was seen with ice packs on his knee while sitting on the bench.
Jürgen Klopp was one of the Liverpool supporters when he saw Mané with the pack on his knee but, as he revealed in his press conference after the game, they were for recovery after the Senegal international played 120 minuted of high-intensity football for his country before flying all the way back from Gabon to play for Liverpool.
That kind of travel takes its toll on players and as we now know, Mané was rested for three-quarters of last night’s showdown with Antonio Conté’s Chelsea side. Many predicted that the Blues would blow Liverpool out of the water but the Reds held strong despite going behind courtesy of a brilliant David Luiz free kick.
Liverpool fans, however upset they were about being a goal down at Anfield again, were more concerned about Mané until Klopp alleviated fears after the game.
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The German manager said, “I didn’t ask until now but when he came into the dressing room, I saw I don’t know exactly what it was, but I had a look at it and said, ‘Oh my God, what’s happened?’
“‘All good, all good’ [Mané said].
“Recovery prevention – cold, hot [packs]. I didn’t ask until now, but there are no problems.”
With more time to recuperate, Klopp will hope that Mané is able to play from the start when Liverpool travel to the KCOM Stadium to face Hull City. The last time the two sides met, the Reds picked them apart, beating them 5-1 but Klopp’s side are in a completely different space right now.
Hopefully, February brings new luck, eh?