Jurgen Klopp has backed Sadio Mane to remain at a top level for years as the Liverpool forward continues to bask in the afterglow of his successful Africa Cup of Nations.
Mane has been in outstanding form since returning from the tournament in February where he scored Senegal’s match-winning penalty in the final against his Liverpool’s teammate Mohamed Salah’s Egypt. And he was named player of the tournament.
The forward has netted eight times in 12 subsequent starts, bagging – from a central striking role – a brace in Liverpool’s 3-2 FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City on Saturday having scored on his 30th birthday in the 2-2 Premier League draw at the same opponents six days earlier. He also scored the penalty that earned his country World Cup qualification last month.
And while sidestepping questions over Mane’s contract – the player is approaching the final 12 months of his present deal – Klopp is convinced the attacker can continue to contribute long into his thirties.
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“Yeah, he will – if he wants to.” Said the Reds boss.
“The quality of Sadio we don’t really have to talk about. Because it’s absolutely incredible. Obviously what happened in the last two months for him was a boost, that is clear. And I am really happy for him. All the rest, we will see.
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Mane will hope to retain his place for the Premier League visit of Manchester United on Tuesday evening, with Klopp impressed by the dedication shown by the player to build on his natural physical attributes.
“Yeah and he is a talent as well.” Said the Liverpool manager. “If you do the same training as Sadio or I do you will never look like him, it’s not possible. He is blessed, let me put it like this. He does a lot, absolutely. But he is a bit lucky as well.”
Liverpool are meeting Manchester United this Tuesday clash at Anfield with a kick-off time 19:00 GMT.
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The Reds are just one point off Premier League leaders Manchester City. And they can momentarily go top of the table with a win or a draw.