Liverpool’s Senegalese speedster Sadio Mané will return to full first-team training this week ahead of the Reds’ Audi Cup participation in Germany.
I’m honestly very, very excited for this.
A Liverpool Football Club starting XI that includes all of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mané promises to bring about devastation of all kinds and practically guarantees goals, goals and more goals.
The quartet’s combination of pace, skill, technical ability, creativity and goal threat will likely have Premier League defenders sweating ahead of playing against the Reds and it seems I’m not the only one excited to see it in action.
“The plan is for Sadio to start team training this week,” Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp reportedly told the Liverpool ECHO.
“He trained on Friday for the first time with the little team, six players, at home. Everybody is positive that he’s there and finally we can use Sadio again which will be great. He’s been out for so long. After a crazy long time, it will be so good to have him back.”
Mané enjoyed a stellar debut season on Merseyside that saw him score 13 goals and walk away from his first campaign with both the Players’ Player of the Season and the Supporters’ Player of the Season trophies at the club’s end of season awards in May.
Much of the damage he inflicted on opposing teams was dealt from the right-hand side of the Reds’ front three but Klopp has refused to pigeon hole the attacker into one role this coming campaign.
Asked if the Senegalese speedster would perhaps change in position this season, Klopp responded: “In specific games, yes, it’s possible.
“But Sadio could play on the right and Mo could play as the No 10. No problem. Mo can even play as the No 9. He was the striker, the second striker, at times for Roma. We have lots of different options.”
“Bayern Munich’s most successful time was with a left footer on the right wing and a right footer on the left wing. Ribery and Robben. That wasn’t the worst idea!
“Sadio has played on the left before (at RB Salzburg). Most of the time it’s actually easier for players to play on the ‘other side’. These two players have the ability and the speed to play on either wing.
“Of cours, we’ve thought about it but in this moment it’s about having lots of different options. We will consider all of them and then make decisions for specific games.”
Many of Liverpool’s poor runs last season came as the result of Mané being out of the side due to AFCON commitments in January and injury April through May. The Reds lacked the penetration that they boasted for much of the season when the winger was missing and there was a startling lack of pace in the side.
Now, however, Klopp has two top-class, pacy wide options to unleash on the Premier League and the German is certainly looking forward to letting them loose.
“If those two are healthy, being able to use their speed as a team will be very nice,” Klopp added.
“I like this view but the problem is I can’t ignore that a lot of things could happen. It won’t always be exactly like this. We need to keep them healthy, confident and in a good rhythm.”
“Yes, Salah is a fantastic player. No doubt about it. Speed is wonderful but we need to use it in a smart way. When you are fouled at that kind of speed, it can be one body check and you are on the other side of the stand.
“The other night we were shooting balls in Salah’s direction and he was running like crazy but he can’t do that all the time. It’s really good to have him and of course there are good reasons why we took him.
The Reds will fly to Berlin on Wednesday to prepare for their Audi Cup fixtures and Reds fans will be hoping to perhaps get a first look at the Salah/Mané combination at some point during the friendly tournament.