Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that they could be without Sadio Mane for the remainder of the season. Mane opened the scoring with a clinical finish for Liverpool on Saturday in their comprehensive 3-1 victory in the Merseyside Derby. The No. 19’s outing though was cut short in the 57th minute as he suffered a knee injury. The Reds were without his services earlier this year due to his involvement in the African Cup of Nations and their form in January was miserable.
Liverpool are a different prospect altogether when Sadio Mane is in the team pic.twitter.com/fydG18GOLX
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) April 4, 2017
The Senegalese joins midfielder Adam Lallana in Liverpool’s already long injury list as Klopp looks for results heading into the crucial month of April. Mane has been one of the best players for his side throughout the season and his absence will be dearly felt. Liverpool face a tricky test at Anfield as they square up against Bournemouth. The Cherries have had an impressive campaign under the management of Eddie Howe.
KLOPP SPOKE TO THE MEDIA AT MELWOOD EARLIER TODAY:
“It’s not 100 per cent clear. We had, of course, an assessment and a scan, but have to wait a little bit until the knee is not that swollen anymore.
“The only thing I can say for sure is that he will not be available for tomorrow. All the rest, we have to see.
“[It’s] not very positive, we have to say it like this, but we cannot say what it is exactly. We have to wait.”
The possibility of the winger missing the remaining portion of the season was also discussed.
“It’s possible. When the knee is swollen you have to wait for the final assessment until it is not swollen anymore, it’s not often I have heard, ‘It was nothing… it was a bee [sting]’ or whatever!
It is swollen because of different reasons. It’s possible [it is season-ending] but even then, or especially then, the more difficult a situation seems to be, the better it is to handle. It feels better afterwards when you look back. Our way is not the easy way – that’s maybe the club’s history – and that’s no problem.”
🎙Klopp's Pre Bournemouth Recap
• Mané season could be over 🚑
• Henderson & Lallana out ❌
• Sturridge back ✅
• Origi a good option 👍🏻
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) April 4, 2017
WHAT ARE THE MANAGER’S OPTIONS?
Belgian Divock Origi could indeed turn out to be a good option in Mane’s place. Klopp has often preferred Firmino as his front-man but with the current situation, he would be happy to start with a more natural forward in Origi. He also made an immediate impact after he finished emphatically within three minutes of his introduction for Mane.
Origi has a (very, very marginally) better mins-per-goal-or-assist figure than Mané this season. 112.85 vs 112.86. Surprised? #lfc
— Andrew Fanko (@afanko) March 21, 2017
The return of the ever-injured Daniel Sturridge will also be a positive. The English striker has struggled with his fitness all season sparking rumors of his departure in the summer. Sturridge is no doubt a great finisher of chances but Liverpool will need him to avoid any more injuries if they are to secure European football next season.
It would be interesting to see if Klopp looks to some of the youngsters, Ben Woodburn in particular. The 17-year old has shown glimpses of raw talent and he could be a surprise asset for the German manager. The extent of Mane’s injury is yet to be known and Liverpool fans would hope they do not lose their speedy winger for long.