Jurgen Klopp: Two key decisions went against Liverpool in West Ham defeat
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Liverpool will be sweating over the fitness of Sadio Mane after he was substituted with an apparent injury while on international duty with Senegal on Thursday evening. The 29-year-old was withdrawn after just 28 minutes of his side’s World Cup qualifier against Togo in what could prove to be a huge blow for Liverpool’s fortunes over the coming weeks.
The severity of Mane’s potential injury is not yet known, but the problem was bad enough to force him off the pitch after less than half an hour of Senegal’s crucial meeting with their Group H rivals.
He appeared to collide with a Togo defender in the process of going up for a header during the early stages of the match.
Mane stayed down and was spotted looking dejected as he sat on the playing surface before he was swiftly replaced by Villarreal forward Boulaye Dia.
It remains to be seen whether Mane will be fit and ready for Liverpool’s next Premier League outing against Arsenal after the end of the international break.
The former Southampton man has emerged as a crucial asset for the Reds since joining the club in a £37million move back in 2016.
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He was influential in helping Liverpool to lift the Champions League trophy two years ago and played an outstanding role in shaping their Premier League title win the following season.
Mane has enjoyed a hugely impressive start to the current campaign, chipping in with six goals from 11 league appearances for the Reds.
He has also scored twice in the Champions League, finding the back of the net for Liverpool against Porto and Atletico Madrid.
The winger was hauled off at half-time by Jurgen Klopp in the Spanish capital earlier this month after picking up a booking for a foul on Atletico forward Angel Correa.
Klopp went on to admit after the full-time whistle that it was not an easy decision to make, but insisted that he could not risk the possibility of Mane being sent off in the second half of the match.
“I really hated the moment when I had to take off Sadio,” Klopp explained to BT Sport. “Because Sadio played an incredible game.
“But my worry was about every type of challenge, in the air where you never know what happens if there’s an arm or stuff like this, and one of them goes down and rolls over three times.
“Then Sadio’s [sent] off and that would have been the wrong thing [to do]. I didn’t like it but in the end I had to do it.”
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Klopp is unlikely to be particularly happy with Mane’s latest potential setback given his recent outburst over players sustaining knocks while on international duty.
“Curtis Jones came back injured from the [England] under-21s,” the Liverpool boss told reporters last month. “Great. That’s not okay.
“It’s really difficult to get proper in contact even with the English federation because they just do what they want. Curtis didn’t train, then wasn’t involved in the first game.
“They didn’t do a scan or whatever, then he played a few minutes in the second game. Who were the opponents? Andorra? Great. Very important that he played there.
“He came back and has a slight injury and is not available for tomorrow. These are the situations we have to deal with.
“That’s why we have these massive squads so we can use players like machines.”
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