International breaks have always been a nightmare for Premier League managers. And, the latest break has proved it once again, as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is made to anxiously wait over the availability of his star forward Sadio Mane.
The German manager has admitted his concerns about the fitness of the Senegalese star, indicating that the next few days are “critical” in his recovery before Premier League gets back into action.
Mane has returned to the Merseyside after being released by his national side following a recurrence of his “old injury” during the World Cup qualifier with South Africa.
This is a major blow for the Reds because the 25-year-old returned to full fitness for the club only last week. The player was out of action for almost a month with a hamstring injury – incidentally, picked up during the last international break.
Mane completed 90 minutes for Senegal and helped his side seal their place in Russia next summer. However, his injury has now left him in major doubt for next weekend’s game at Southampton, his old stomping ground.
Liverpool are expecting the star at their Melwood base for assessment of his injury and Klopp is worried that any potential injury setback could derail his side’s hopes.
When asked about Mane’s fitness, Klopp was unwilling to commit to any prognosis and has expressed his worry following Mane’s international exploits with Senegal.
The Reds boss was quoted by Liverpool Echo:
“Specifically, on him returning to Melwood early to be with us; obviously it is a concern that the hamstring injury is again on the agenda and it will be critical for us to monitor and manage that in the coming days.
“At this stage we haven’t seen Sadio yet to properly assess the extent, but what is clear is that we will have to stay on top of this for the rest of the week and make sure we are careful in how we look after him.”
The Reds did everything they could to make sure that the player’s fitness was taken care of. It was reported earlier that the Reds sent their own set of doctors to work with the Senegal team to ensure that Mane’s fitness was at optimum levels.
Mane is hugely popular within the squad and among the Kop faithful for his exploits on the field. Klopp knows and understands the importance of Mane. He also acknowledges that representing Senegal is important for the forward.
“It should not be forgotten in Liverpool, either, how important it is to Sadio that he represents his country whenever he is fit enough to do so. He is so proud of his country and recognises what a role model he is for them.
It is really an anxious wait for Klopp and the fans, as Mane’s fitness is assessed before the weekend action. Let’s hope there is no long-term worry!