Sadio Mane was forced off after just 28 minutes of Senegal’s 1-1 draw with Togo on Thursday, but manager Aliou Cisse insists his rib injury is “nothing serious.”
The 29-year-old started in Senegal’s World Cup qualifier in Lome, with the Lions of Teranga looking to extend their lead at the top of Group H.
But after an aerial challenge that left him in pain, Cisse made the decision to withdraw Mane just before the half-hour mark, his side needing a 93rd-minute goal from Habib Diallo to salvage a point.
It was a blow for Senegal, but concerns were higher for Liverpool, with fans worried their No. 10 was adding to the injury woes in attack.
With Roberto Firmino already sidelined, Jurgen Klopp can ill afford to lose another of his first-choice forwards, particularly with Mane and Mohamed Salah already due to depart for the Africa Cup of Nations mid-season.
Hopefully, though, Cisse’s words after the game ring true, with the Guardian reporting the Senegal manager as explaining that “we took him off as a precaution and there is nothing serious.”
Mane’s injury is described as a knock, with further tests to take place before he is ruled in or out of Sunday’s clash with Congo.
The Liverpool striker is a resilient player who is rarely required to leave the field due to injury, so regardless of Cisse’s initial assessment there will be reservations at Kirkby.
Senegal have already qualified for the next round of the African branch of World Cup qualifiers, and therefore it would be sensible to allow Mane to return to Merseyside to be treated by his employers.