An in-form Sadio Mane will play a key role if Liverpool are to beat Bayern Munich across two legs in the Champions League—and that’s exactly what he intends.
The Reds’ No. 10 has come back into form at the perfect time, having scored four goals in his last four games to get the Reds back on the winning path.
Two of those also came in successive 1-1 draws, while one was the eventual winner in a crazy 4-3 encounter against Crystal Palace.
Last season it was in the Champions League knock-out phase were Mane really came into his own, scoring seven in seven including a hat-trick against Porto, home and away in the semis and the Reds’ goal in the final itself.
A similarly productive run would be much appreciated as Liverpool prepare to face Bayern, followed by Man United, Watford, the derby against Everton, Burnley and Bayern again across the next three weeks.
Mane has spoken in the build-up to the first leg about the Reds’ approach under Jurgen Klopp and his fierce drive to be successful with Liverpool, telling Sport Bild it’s up to the players to prove their quality in these types of games.
“We profit in every game from [having] Jurgen Klopp! He has taken the team to a new level and made it a winning team. That’s what the whole club and the fans longed for.
“It’s definitely an advantage [that Klopp knows Bayern well], but it’s not just because of him.
“We players are all in this club to win something important. In such games as against Bayern, we must show that on the pitch.
“It has never been that we have always played the same football. We often change the style of play and adapt it to the opponent.
“But if we win the games with a certain system, why should we do things differently? We still have our basic tactics, everyone loves them here.”
Despite reaching the final last year, Liverpool fell just short with an agonising defeat to Real Madrid.
It means the wait goes on since 2005 for a sixth European Cup to arrive—and the wait is even longer for a league championship title.
That might change across the course of the season: possibly with one, maybe even with both if Mane gets his way.
The forward acknowledges there’s a tough test ahead with the double-header against Bayern, but his ambition remains to lift the trophy he came so close to last term.
“Of course I know that we’ve been waiting for a title at Liverpool for a while. The club has a great history, and we want to write the next chapter in it with our team.
“We respect Bayern and their many good players—but we are Liverpool and want to move into the quarter-finals and also get the title.
“I watched the second leg [of last season’s semi-final] at home with friends. Bayern were really close to reaching the final. But Real Madrid were strong; unfortunately, we also felt that in the final.
“For me it was a dream to play the Champions League final. All the more reason why I want to go there again and win it!”
Mane, who was undertaking the interview alongside Naby Keita at Melwood, will be crucial if the Reds are to overcome the Bundesliga champions.
His attacking play is of course paramount—but the particular strengths of Bayern mean he’ll be called upon in the opposite direction too, working back against their wide threat and adventurous full-backs.
There are no better fits the Reds could ask for to do the job than Mane.
**READ MORE: Naby Keita on Klopp, Bayern challenge & Timo Werner transfer