Livepool winger Sadio Mané believes that his English Premier League club will continue to do well while he is away on national team duty for Senegal at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
The prolific attacking player, who scored his sixth Premier League goal of the season on Monday night to defeat Merseyside derby rivals Everton 1-0, will be unavailable for the Reds during the Nations Cup tournament in Gabon, which takes place from January 14 to February 5.
Mané will be expected in camp for the Teranga Lions in advance of the first kick-off, removing his contribution from Anfield for a few weeks.
He has been in tantalising form since joining Liverpool from Southampton in a £34 million deal to become Africa’s most expensive player. He will miss the derby against fierce rivals Manchester United on January 15, the same day in which Mané’s Senegal will face a stiff test against Tunisia.
The player admits that he will find it difficult to leave his Liverpool teammates, but he believes that they understand that it is a national team commitment.
‘It will not be easy for me to go with Senegal next month. I would love to carry on playing with my team-mates and help my team, but I think they will understand because it is my country and it is my dream,’ Mané said.
The winger himself denies that Liverpool will be missing him, suggesting that his club have ample resources at their disposal to replace him.
‘I will be wishing them good luck, but without me the team will be the same. Even better I think. They will cope. Coutinho will come back. Matip will come back and Sturridge is back now,’ he added.
‘I am very happy for him [Sturridge]. It has not been easy for him being out, he has had a lot of injuries, but you know he can deliver important performances for the team. That is why the team will be strong [while I am away],’ Mané concluded.
His finishing, power and pace will be sorely missed at Anfield, and Reds fans may secretly be wishing for Senegal to be eliminated in the group stages, ensuring a speedy return for their 24-year-old.
Jurgen Klopp is a manager that responds to challenges with calm, and while he will likely quell the fears of media and fans by telling them that the Merseyside club have plenty of depth to compensate for Sadio Mane’s absence, the German will no doubt be dreading the winger’s departure to join Senegal’s Teranga Lions.