Liverpool handed big fitness boost as Jurgen Klopp says Sadio Mane is ready for season opener


Sadio Mane could be set for an immediate return to Liverpool’s team as Jurgen Klopp revealed he is ready for the season opener.

The Senegal international only returned to Melwood, Liverpool’s training base, at 4pm on Monday following a two-week summer holiday. Mane had spent much of the summer on international duty, helping his country reach the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mane has had a gruelling schedule over the past two years. He has played 111 times since August 2017 for club and country and his last campaign – which saw him finish as the Premier League’s joint leading scorer – ran for 359 days.

Klopp, though, was upbeat about Mane’s physical condition when he was asked about him and will give careful consideration to whether Liverpool’s No 10 starts alongside Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah or is introduced from the bench as a second-half substitute.

‘Yes – he is ready,’ said Klopp. ‘He already had two weeks off, so he didn’t lose a lot. He looks fit. Yesterday was the first session with the team. He looks absolutely OK, in good spirits, looking forward to it. Yes he’s an option.

‘It was not the longest pre-season but it was a very intense one. Pre-season is very, very, very important but I don’t like it too much because the games are in very difficult circumstances, and there is travelling and all that stuff. It is something we have to do.

‘Now we start with a normal rhythm, which I am happy about. Apart from the injured players, it looks like all players are in. So we have a couple of decisions, let’s start tomorrow night. We have to stay the team that nobody wants to play against because of our intensity.’

Klopp has made a conscious decision to refrain from getting involved in the transfer window. Liverpool were linked with bringing back Philippe Coutinho on loan but it was never remotely considered by the manager, who said “no answer” when asked if he was offered the midfielder.

‘How we deal with things like this in the past allows us to deal with it like this,’ said Klopp, who expressed his admiration for the job Daniel Farke has done to get Norwich into the Premier League. ‘We don’t make big comments on these things.

‘The other thing is pretty much the same answer. It’s not really likely so if you have something to do I think you should go to Everton! I think they are more busy. But we will see.

‘Our transfer window was checking options and thinking about it, but making decisions. That’s how we do it always. If nothing happens, it was because the decision was not the right option for us. We will not make signings just for making signings. That makes no sense.’


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