Liverpool's Sadio Mane drops outrageous first touch in return to training after AFCON win

  • Kobe Tong

Sadio Mane has returned to Liverpool after the biggest triumph of his professional career.

While the Reds winger is no strange to success having won the Premier League and Champions League, even the man himself would admit that securing the Africa Cup of Nations trophy tops everything else.

Despite having missed a penalty in regulation time against Egypt in the final, Mane scored the winning spot-kick in the subsequent shootout to ensure that Senegal conquered Africa for the very first time.

Mane enjoys AFCON glory

Speaking to a group of journalists, including Juliet Bawuah, in the mixed zone after Senegal’s famous victory, Mane said: “It’s not only the most important trophy, it’s the most important day of my life.

“The best day of my life! So far, the best trophy of my life and I can’t express my feelings today – I’m very happy and proud.”

However, football being football, there’s very little time for the players to catch their breath and Mane has already returned to Melwood to help Liverpool end their 2021/22 season on a strong note.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 04: Sadio Mane of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool at Molineux on December 04, 2021 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Mane returns to Liverpool training

The Premier League win over Leicester City came a little too soon for the 29-year-old despite fellow finalist Mohamed Salah making his return, but he has nevertheless resumed training at the club.

And it’s clear to see that Mane is still riding the wave of his AFCON glory because one particular clip of the Premier League star on his return to training has got Kopites rubbing their hands together.

A brilliant eight-second video has hoovered up tweets and ‘likes’ for not only showing Mane score a fine top-corner finish, but providing a scintillating first touch that – frankly – we need an explanation for.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Leicester City v Liverpool – King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain – December 28, 2021 Liverpool’s Sadio Mane during the warm up REUTERS/Rebecca Naden EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Mane’s outrageous first touch

In what us mere mortals can only describe as a fake-shot-cum-flying-turn, Mane managed to kill the ball dead from out of the sky and perfectly tee up his shot on the edge of the penalty area for good measure.

It was a menacing and nonchalant indicator that Mane is returning to Liverpool with the bit between his teeth, so be sure to watch the Senegal star turning on the style down below:

Mane means business, doesn’t he?

Fan reaction

Liverpool fans joked that Mane had heard about Diaz.
Fans think Mane’s AFCON win has given him extra confidence.
Fans think Mane could be back to his 2017-2019 best.
Many fans were blown away by Mane’s superb first touch.
A confident Mane is a tantalising prospect for Liverpool.
One fan joked that they’d break their bones if they attempted Mane’s skill.
Mane’s touch upped one fan’s respect for professional footballers.
Mane and Salah playing well could help Liverpool catch Man City.

A boost to Mane’s confidence?

Now, look, Mane has been enjoying a solid season for Liverpool with ten goals and an assist in all competitions, but there’s no denying that somebody of his world-class talents can raise his game even more.

And while there is only so much you can infer from one training clip, it’s not unreasonable to think that Mane enjoying the greatest day of his career could be what it takes to elevate his performances to the next level.

Marry that to Salah delivering the best football of his career in the famous red jersey and there’s good reason to think that Premier League defences should be very, very worried about Liverpool during the run-in.

Soccer Football – Africa Cup of Nations – Final – Senegal v Egypt – Olembe Stadium, Yaounde, Cameroon – February 6, 2022 Senegal’s Sadio Mane celebrates after winning the Africa Cup of Nations REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

However, even in a world where Mane proceeds to end the season with disastrous form, which we can’t see happening for a single second, he still owes us an explanation for that stunning first touch.

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