Why Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp needs to be ‘very careful’ with Sadio Mane | Football | Sport
Liverpool have won their opening games against Norwich and Southampton with Mane scoring in the 2-1 win over his former club on Saturday.
The 27-year-old has endured a busy summer with Senegal in which they lost in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, which saw him return late to pre-season training.
Crooks, who played for both Tottenham and Manchester United, has warned Klopp that Mane’s game time needs to be managed to avoid a spell on the sidelines.
He told BBC Sport: “It might have been the first time Sadio Mane has scored against his old club but even he had to celebrate it, such was its brilliance.
“The Senegal international was on top of his game again after a hectic summer of football in the Africa Cup of Nations.
“While there has been talk of Mane not getting sufficient time off to recuperate from the tournament, he looked sharper and fitter than anyone else on the field against Southampton.
“Jurgen Klopp needs to be very careful not to overplay Mane.
“If he does and loses the player through injury, he could live to regret it.”
Mane scored 22 league goals last season as he shared the Golden Boot with team-mate Mohamed Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Big things are expected of the winger this time out, as Liverpool go in search of both domestic and European glory after winning the Champions League last season.
The former Red Bull Salzburg attacker even showed his class to his old fans by apologising to Southampton after playing a part in their defeat at the weekend.
“I’m sorry it is against my old team and sorry I have to score but I’m wearing a Liverpool shirt now,” he said.
“Southampton was a very good step for me, I have big respect for this club.
“It is an amazing place.
“I learned a lot here and they are very nice people.
“But it is part of football and you have to deal with it.”