Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is out of Wednesday’s Premier League clash against Bournemouth with a knee injury that could sideline him for the rest of the season, manager Juergen Klopp said on Tuesday.
Mane picked up the injury in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Everton on Saturday. A prolonged absence for the Senegal international could have far-reaching consequences for his team’s chances of finishing in the top four.
The 24-year-old’s departure to the African Nations Cup in January coincided with Liverpool’s worst run of results all season – the club won just one of seven games in all competitions without him.
“It’s not 100 percent clear. We have to wait a little bit. I can say for sure he won’t be available for tomorrow,” Klopp told a news conference on Tuesday. “The knee is swollen. We wait for the final assessment. It’s possible (his season could be over) but why should I say that now?”
Liverpool will also be without skipper Jordan Henderson and midfielder Adam Lallana for the visit of Bournemouth, but forward Daniel Sturridge is back in training for the first time since the start of February.
Striker Divock Origi came off the bench to score Liverpool’s third goal against Everton, and Klopp indicated that the Belgium international could start on Wednesday.
“As long as we have 11 players to start then everything is fine,” he added. “It’s good to have Divock. The season is long. He’s a very important option for us now.”
Bournemouth, who are 11th in the table, seven points above the relegation zone, beat third-placed Liverpool 4-3 in the reverse fixture in December, and Klopp said his team had learnt a valuable lesson from that defeat.
“We learned a lot. One situation changed the game. We felt too confident in a specific moment. It was our responsibility. We are responsible for all the results. You learn the hard way,” Klopp said.
“They have 34 points. They are still fighting. They have no points to waste, we have no points to waste.”