Sadio Mane is returning from Senegal duty early, with Liverpool set to oversee the winger’s recovery after his hamstring problems flared up.
Mane missed five games for the Reds in October and November with an injury picked up in the last international break, but returned to set up two goals in the 4-1 win away to West Ham.
This proved his fitness for Senegal’s crucial World Cup qualifiers against South Africa, and he assisted both goals in Friday’s 2-0 victory.
But after playing all 90 minutes as his side sealed their place at next year’s tournament, Mane is now heading back to Merseyside.
The 25-year-old is said to have “slightly” felt his hamstring following the win, with both Senegal and Liverpool agreeing the best course of action is to return for treatment.
“Sadio Mane has slightly felt his old injury,” the Senegalese Football Federation declared on Sunday night.
“After consultations between the medical staff of the national team of Senegal and Liverpool, it was decided by mutual agreement for his club to continue treatment until full recovery.”
This comes as a worrying development after Mane’s previous injury, but it should be seen more as a precaution than a setback for the No. 19.
Liverpool sent Mane to join the Senegal squad along with physio Scott McAuley, to oversee his training and recovery under Aliou Cisse.
McAuley’s presence, monitoring the winger’s fitness, will no doubt have informed this decision, with the Reds eager to take no chances due to Mane’s importance to the side.
With Senegal having booked their place in Russia with last week’s win, Tuesday night’s clash in Dakar is a mere dead rubber, with Mane not required to secure a result.
Returning to Melwood will deprive the player of a hero’s welcome back in Senegal, but his focus should now turn to Liverpool.
The Reds are next in action at home to Southampton on Saturday afternoon, and Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to be able to call upon Mane against his former side.
Klopp was given a boost as the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge were all left out for their national teams for November.
The German gave his non-internationals the week off, but they will return to training this week to begin preparations for the visit of the Saints.