Liverpool forward Sadio Mane did not play against Chelsea and just watched from the bench as the squad played one of the most important games of the season.
Sadio Mane opened up after the game and insisted that he and Jurgen Klopp are still alright despite reports that the Senegal international was annoyed to have been left out of the game.
“It was not easy for me,” he told reporters. “It was a difficult moment, but it’s part of football and it can happen. It’s important for me to come back now. I’m feeling very well.”
Mane was caught on camera gesticulating with Klopp after the final whistle, which left for some to suggest that they were arguing.
However, Mane denied those assumptions and explained that the two were not just able to communicate well.
“He Klopp asked me to play on the right side and one time I tried to ask for the ball in the number nine position,” said Mane. “Mo [Salah] was on my side and the coach was shouting ‘Sadio come onto the right side’.
“After the game I told the coach it was easier if you told Mo to come in because he was close to you, but it was friendly, it was not because I was unhappy or something else. There was no problem, I was just communicating and explaining that to him after the game.”
When asked if he is fully recovered and if the decision to leave him out of the Chelsea game had something to do with his fitness, Sadio Mane said: “I’m completely recovered, yes.”
“I’ve been fine for around a month and that’s why I’ve been in training with the team and playing games.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is contended with Sadio Mane’s progress and is reported to be returning a full fitness following a knee injury that made him miss the 2016-17 in April.
The Senegal international has returned pre-training with the first team and has been seen running with them. However, he will not be joining the Premier League Asia Trophy and the team’s game against Crystal Palace coming on Wednesday.
“He is really, really good,” Klopp said regarding the 25-year-old. “He is close; he is closing on coming back to team training,” the German told the club’s website.
“In this moment, we think it will be when we are in Asia, so then it makes no sense to take him to Asia because he needs to then do the first steps in kind of team training.
“We will see how we can do it; maybe [some of] the under-23s will be here, so when he can start this [training] then we can use this opportunity, but we have to wait.
“On Tuesday morning he was part of the running, so he is first-team training if you want and that looked really good. I think he is getting better, but it is how it is after a long time – you need to build a little bit of muscle again in the quad and thigh, which is important.
“There is no risk with him because he is a naturally fit boy and in the moment when he can start to be a real part of the sessions, he will then immediately be fit again.
“We have not all the time in the world, but we have time and we will use it.”