Jurgen Klopp asked Sadio Mane to control his emotions when provoked by opponents and “pay them football”. The Liverpool boss believes opponents are regularly trying to antagonize the striker, and were embroiled in a furious row with Mikel Arteta last weekend after Mane applied for a card when Mane grabbed Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Klopp admits he spoke to the Senegal international about not living up to the bait, and is confident the advice has been heeded. “It’s been a thing for much longer,” Klopp said. “Even when it wasn’t obvious to the outside. You can see that in the games they go to because they want to get rid of it.
“But they are two different things. The first is that Sadio made really aggressive during the match. We saw that against Flamengo in the Club World Cup final. Rafinha wanted to go with him after he caused them some problems when we played Bayern in the Champions League. It was clear from the first moment when Strong income.
“Sadio is now in an era where he is much better [dealing with] which – which; He’s not emotional anymore. Obviously we all need feelings, sometimes we control them better and sometimes less and yes, we’ve had these conversations, but I don’t really think it has anything to do with the situation against Arsenal. That was pretty much nothing, it was just an ordinary challenge.
“With Real Madrid it was clear and against Atlético it was pretty clear – they got the red card and right after a player went down and made more. [of a challenge] Just to make sure our player is sent off or sent off with a yellow card. This is what I was talking about. headline [from their discussions] He: “We give back with football. Whatever we do, we give them back for football.”
Mane faces his former club Southampton on Saturday after scoring in his past four Premier League games at Anfield and nine times this season. As with Mohamed Salah, Klopp believes the striker is reaping the rewards of a long break and pre-season.
“Sadio is a very confident person and we all felt on the first day of pre-season, after a proper break, that he was there 100%,” he said. “It was clear. It was clear that if he was lucky with injuries, it would be a really good season because that’s the quality he has. And that’s what he’s showing now.
“I can’t say enough about how important it is for these players to get a proper break. I’ll talk about it for the next 20 years but the authorities won’t change it. But this year Mo and Sadio got a proper break and for now, for now, we’re doing the benefit.”