Sadio Mane believes he has benefited from a longer break to regain his best form for Liverpool in 2021-22.
Mane scored 11 times in the Premier League last season when Liverpool failed to defend their title.
This was his second-lowest record for Liverpool since joining Southampton in 2016/17, with the Senegalese striker scoring fewer league goals in 2017/18 (10), while also only scoring three goals last season became 20 games before he doubled against Crystal Palace on the final day of the match.
However, Mane retained his creativity and provided seven templates out of 61 created opportunities – most of the opportunities he has created in a Premier League season since arriving in England seven years ago.
Only in 2018/19 (3,085) did Mane play more minutes than 2020-21 (2,810), and the 29-year-old believes he was able to take a longer break before joining the Reds prep training camp in Austria provided the much-needed boost .
When asked if he is in better shape compared to the 2020/21 season, Mane told Liverpoolfc.com: “Yeah, sure.
“I think it’s always important to take a break as a player because I can say I’ve had four weeks or more of vacation for the first time since arriving at Liverpool.
“I could tell from day one that everyone was looking sharp, which was amazing to me! I’m not complaining about having a week or two off, but I think it’s always extra [helpful] so that we can have this long vacation.
“At the same time, we worked in individual training, which is also important because you could see from day one that everyone was fit and ready for the new season.
“To be honest, everyone and I feel more ready. I always say there is fatigue [in the head] and of course you have to be mentally strong to deal with it, but at the same time I think resting is the best.
“I think we’ve all really rested now, that’s another advantage for us. We want to be ready for the season now. “
Liverpool have nowhere near been able to compete for the title with Manchester City, although Jurgen Klopp’s side will point out the impact of injuries to key players – mostly in defense.
The Reds lost Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to end-of-season injuries, while Jordan Henderson was also unable to return after a problem in February.
“I don’t just think me, I think everyone [is excited]! ” When asked, Mane said how positive it was to see Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip back in training.
“As players, we all become fans because when you see your teammate getting back into training and getting fit, you just say, ‘Wow!’
“When I see Virgil, Joe and Joel, after every training session I say, ‘My friend, how are you?’ because I think it’s just amazing to have everyone back on the team.
“Because we know what they can do for the team and the most important thing for us is the team, that is, to have these players 100 percent fit – I think you can always see the boys smile and say: ‘Wow’, what for one season it will be back for us. ‘“