To those doubters questioning the credentials of the Liverpool Premier League title quest, Sadio Mane has an unequivocal response.
Reds attacker Mane believes Jurgen Klopp’s men can crank it up a notch in terms of their performances in a bid to hold on to their place at the top-flight summit.
And as the Merseysiders prepare to do battle with Leicester City at Anfield in a crucial league clash on Wednesday night, Mane says Liverpool want to peak during the pivotal moments of the title race – and his comments would lead you to believe he is confident that they can maintain their four-point lead by overcoming the Foxes, their next opponents.
“We heard what some of the media were saying about us not starting off by playing as fast and exciting as last year, and we felt we weren’t at our best ourselves at times,”
Senegal striker Mane said in an interview with World Soccer.
“The results have been there but we know we could have done more with some of our performances.
“We are very competitive but know there is even more to come, for sure. In many ways, the team is stronger and we have produced some very mature performances. Hopefully we will hit our top form when it matters most.”
Mane says he is hungry to get his hands on some silverware with the Reds – with the Premier League a particularly prized pot to snare given that the club have failed to win the top-flight crown for 29 years.
“I can’t wait to lift a trophy with Liverpool. I know the fans are desperate for us to win the Premier League. It would be an amazing moment for the club. It has been far too long for a team the size of Liverpool.
“We believe we are heading in the right direction, but there are some very tough rivals – Manchester City were unbelievable last season and very strong again – but why not?”
Meanwhile, Georginio Wijnaldum has revealed that Klopp is quick to boost his charges’ morale if they suffer a defeat. The Reds’ only league defeat came at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City; they then lost an FA Cup third round tie at Wolves.
And Dutch midfielder Wijnaldum, in an interview with Premier League Productions, said:
“You always learn from a defeat, even more than when you win games because when you win, you don’t see everything you did wrong.
“When you lose games, you analyse them more than when you win. Of course, we learned. Every team learns when they lose a game. What I learned the most was that we still need to keep the confidence; in Jurgen we have a manager who can help us with that.
“That’s what he said after the games against City and Wolves – that we must keep the confidence and maybe even work harder than before. He gave us the feeling that we had to deal with it and work even harder to make it better.”