Saturday 20 January 2018

Liverpool lifted as Mane gets all clear

Senegal’s Sadio Mane in action against Namibia during their 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier in Dakar.
Senegal’s Sadio Mane in action against Namibia during their 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier in Dakar.

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has allayed fears about an injury sustained on international duty with Senegal by returning to the club's Melwood training base fit and well.

The winger was substituted midway through the second half of Saturday's 2-0 win over Namibia, prompting speculation about his fitness.

Manager Jurgen Klopp called the 24-year-old the following day to check on his status and was given a positive response and Mane was back in for training and recovery at Melwood yesterday.

That was welcome news ahead of the visit of Premier League champions Leicester this weekend for the first home match of the season, when Anfield's new Main Stand will be officially used for the first time.

Klopp will want his strongest line-up available, although he will have to wait until Thursday for the return of Philippe Coutinho, who has a long trip back from Manaus in the Amazon rainforest after Brazil duty.

Compatriot Lucas Leiva, who was not selected for his national team, believes Klopp has assembled a strong squad for the campaign ahead despite not adding to it on deadline day last week.

"I think it's clear that we have very good players in every single position - and not just one good player, I would say we have two teams you could put out to get you results," he said.

"Of course the Premier League is very difficult but I think the squad we have, with the new players who have made us stronger - hopefully it's going to be a very good season for the club.

"I think it's an okay beginning. We've played three games away from home in a row, and against two teams who will challenge for the top four and the title (Arsenal and Tottenham), so it's not bad.

"But we need to get points and win games in a row as soon as possible because we want to be higher in the table."

Yaya Toure's agent expects to have a raft of offers from England, China and the US when the transfer window reopens.

The midfielder, who turns 34 next year, is not wanted by new Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and was left out of the club's Champions League squad.

Toure is in the final year of his contract and his representative Dimitri Seluk is already lining up deals for the player.

"He is in very good shape, very good condition, I think he lost seven kilograms," Seluk said.

"Maybe that's not good enough for Guardiola, but then Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasn't good enough for him (at Barcelona)."

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