Sadio Mane interview | Fitness, Bournemouth, Harry Wilson and the Ballon d'Or
Sadio Mane feels fresh and ready to go again as Liverpool’s pursuit of the Premier League title continues at Bournemouth.
The No.10 was in unplayable form on Wednesday night as Everton were beaten 5-2 at Anfield, scooping the Man of the Match award after a display that featured a goal and two assists.
That Merseyside derby represented the fourth time in 11 days that Mane has completed the full 90 minutes of a game, the forward having also done so against Crystal Palace, Napoli and Brighton and Hove Albion.
His usual attacking partners, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, were both afforded a rest versus the Blues as a desire to introduce ‘fresh legs’ led Jürgen Klopp to make five changes to his starting line-up.
However, while acknowledging the likelihood that he will be given a breather at some point during a hectic December, Mane dismissed any idea that he may need a break.
“I think tiredness is in the head. I’m ready to go - I’m feeling fresh again,” the Senegalese told Liverpoolfc.com of Saturday’s trip to the south coast.
“I expect [to be rested at some point], but when they put me on the bench I respect it and I will be here to push my teammates because we are Liverpool.
“Wednesday was a good example with Bobby and Mo, it meant that other players can get the job. I’m just here and whatever they decide, I am ready to go.”
Eddie Howe’s team head into the weekend having lost their last four Premier League games - a run that contrasts with the relentlessness of the table-topping Reds.
But Mane, Liverpool’s November Player of the Month and a nominee for the division’s Player of the Month prize, is anticipating a challenging afternoon at Vitality Stadium.
“What’s important is that you cannot think that because they have lost four games in a row, everything will be easy,” he warned.
“In our mind it will be a very, very tough game. It has always been tough at Bournemouth and we know that. The only thing we’re going to do is focus on ourselves and try to be ready and to start the game at 100 per cent like it’s a Champions League final.”
One man who will not be playing on Saturday is Harry Wilson, Bournemouth’s Liverpool loanee.
Does Mane consider the Welshman’s absence to be a positive for the Reds?
“It’s really good news because he is doing very, very well for Bournemouth and is one of the key players for them,” the 27-year-old stated.
“So if he’s not playing it is an advantage for us.”
The meeting with the Cherries marks the end of a highly successful week that began with a fourth-placed finish at the Ballon d’Or for Mane.
One of four Liverpool players named in the top seven for the 2019 men’s edition of the prestigious accolade, the forward hopes more collective glory with his club may result in him ranking even higher in 12 months’ time.
“That [four in the top seven] means we are a great team with great players and great quality. The boys still have a lot to show and hopefully this season we can show it,” a smiling Mane said.
“I am very proud and happy to be named fourth in the world. I am looking forward and why not No.1, maybe?!
“I will do everything possible to win the Champions League and Premier League with Liverpool and we’ll see what’s going to happen.”