“Sadio trained the first time with the team, and looked really, really good.
“It looked like he was ready for 20-25 minutes but we have to wait to see how his body reacts to the session.”
That’s what Jurgen Klopp said about Sadio Mane on Friday.
Those words came as a surprise with Mane not expected back for at least another two weeks.
But what was even more surprising was when Klopp named the Senegalese international in the starting line-up for the trip to West Ham.
And instead of playing “20-25 minutes,” Mane played 77 minutes - assisting two goals during a brilliant performance.
You can understand why Klopp took a chance of him now.
And not only did Klopp lie during his press conference, Mane also made him do something he’s apparently never done before - start a player returning from injury that has only been involved in just two training sessions.
Klopp on starting Mane
“We had a few difficult things to decide yesterday. Bringing Sadio Mane in to the team after just two training sessions with the team,” Klopp said.
“I never did it before, to be honest. But obviously it was not the worst idea I ever had!
“I decided after one (training) session, but he had another yesterday. Sadio is a naturally fit player - he's a little machine.
“When we trained after Maribor - the first session on Thursday - he was a little bit stiff in the beginning and then you could see how he starts enjoying the intensity. That's why we decided we should try it.
“I asked him because I cannot see how he feels after that session. I said in the press conference yesterday that he's ready for 25 minutes. Obviously he was ready for 25 (minutes) plus. Good for us!”
It certainly is good for Liverpool as they rounded off a perfect week. Seven days after beating Huddersfield 3-0 in the Premier League and three days after beating Maribor in the Champions League, Liverpool picked up their third win in as many matches.
It lifted them level on points with both Arsenal and Chelsea ahead of a mouth-watering Super Sunday.
Klopp and everyone associated with Liverpool will just be praying Mane doesn’t go and pick up another injury during Senegal’s World Cup qualifying double-header with South Africa.
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