Liverpool star Sadio Mane has drawn a comparison between this season and the year Liverpool won the league, adding to his belief that the club will be able to do it again.
Mane has also referenced his first real extended break, and the return of fans as reasons for optimism entering the new season.
Liverpool are just days away from their opening Premier League game against Norwich City. When we won the league in 2019-2020 the Canaries were also the first game of that campaign, a possible omen of things to come.
Mane was a substitute on that occasion having returned to the team just days prior thanks to a chaotic summer. However he is feeling ready this time to get Liverpool off to a good start in a bid to return the Premier League title to Anfield.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, Mane said:
“I think the really good thing about it is the coincidence because the season we won the league our opening game was against Norwich and we won 4-1.
“And hopefully this season it’s going to be the same coincidence, that we are going to win and then hopefully win the league! Of course it’s our target.
“I still remember that I had 10 days of holidays [in the summer of 2019], but this season is a little bit different because I have had enough holidays. So hopefully it’s going to be an exciting season for me and Liverpool Football Club.”
Mane on the return of fans
Football in general felt somewhat sanitised last seasons due to the lack of fan presence. However Anfield, more so than many players, did not seem normal without the roar of fans.
Mane, like many others, seemed affected by the lack of supporters. Therefore it is understandable he is looking forward to their return.
He said: “Yeah, like I always said, football without fans, I think it’s not football.
“Obviously last year, to be honest we missed our fans a lot and honestly I think this season is going to be a different season. Especially because fans are back in the stadium and of course, we have the best fans in the world. I can say they played a big, big part in our success so having them back I think is another bonus for us, for sure.
“Of course you expect all these kind of things, to go to an away ground and get booed, but I think especially for myself and my teammates, this gives us extra motivation. Myself, I love it and I don’t care about it. It gives me extra motivation and I can’t wait for it.”
Mane on the summer and pre-season
Mane spoke earlier this summer about his extended break this off-season.
He certainly appears to have benefitted from this as he has looked sharp and alert during pre-season action.
The Senegalese forward commented: “I think it’s always important as a player to have rest and I think in this last summer everybody has enough rest, especially myself.
” I said it was my first [extended break] since I came to Liverpool and that is the truth. The pre-season went well and I think everybody is physically ready and we are just looking forward to the season.
“In the running sessions I feel very good. Physically and for sure mentally everything is here. I am really happy about it and I can’t wait for the season.”