Monday Aug 26, 2019. 09:29
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has hit back at the suggestions that he has rushed Sadio Mane back into action too soon.
The 27-year-old forward has effectively had no off-season due to his extensive participation in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Former Reds player and current pundit Jamie Carragher wrote over the weekend that Klopp should have left Mane out of the starting XIs in recent matches in order to preserve his energy levels.
“Mane has become so important that Klopp is reluctant to leave him out and let him have a rest,” Carragher wrote in his weekly column for the Telegraph.
“In an ideal world, Mane would have been rested this season until after the first international break and not started until September.
“Klopp said after last week’s win over Southampton that no footballer should play more than 50 matches a season, especially in what he called the ‘intense positions’, and he has the resources in midfield to address this concern.
“His use of Mane, however, already suggests that Liverpool’s squad is not strong enough in the attacking positions. You cannot keep defying your body and my worry is that there will be a drop-off without a rest.”
However, Klopp insists Liverpool have a plan for the forward to ensure he doesn’t suffer from burn-out.
“I would love to hear Jamie Carragher if I had left Sadio out,” said the German manager after the Reds’ victory over Arsenal. “The punditry is a world class business – I have to think about if I don’t do that after my (management) career, because you can say whatever you want and you always put a finger in something.
“So yes, we try. I did today – I took him off, and I think if I am 100 percent right then Sadio doesn’t have to go away on international duty with his national team after Burnley which will help him, and then after that we have a full week to prepare the next opponent.
“With him at least. Others players will come back later, Tuesday, Wednesday, but yeah of course we have an eye on it, but unfortunately we are responsible for making a decision how often they can go.”