Sadio Mane has sparked fears over his fitness after visiting a hospital to suggest he may be a doubt for next week’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Roma.
The Senegal international walked into the Spire Hospital in Liverpool on Wednesday with a slight limp. He spent over half an hour in the building before leaving.
The previous evening, Mane had successfully completed the full 90 minutes in Liverpool’s spectacular 5-2 victory over Roma at Anfield and manager Jurgen Klopp did not mention an injury issue after the game.
But with so little time before Wednesday’s second leg in Rome, even the slightest of problems could leave him struggling to recover in time. That potentially leaves Klopp missing a key player in what is likely to be an intense battle at the Stadio Olimpico.
Liverpool must already contend with the absence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the rest of the campaign after the midfielder suffered knee ligament damage in the early stages of Tuesday’s game.
Emre Can and Adam Lallana are already unlikely to feature again this season after picking up injuries last month, leaving Klopp with just captain Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum as his senior midfield options.
However, the loss of Mane would be felt much harder with the forward making up one-third of the devastating attacking force that has led them to the verge of a Champions League final.
The 26-year-old, who scored the third of five goals at Anfield, has 18 strikes to his name this season and a further eight assists. That makes him less prolific than team-mates Roberto Firmino (27 goals) and Mohamed Salah (43), but his pace and skill have been crucial elements to Klopp’s style of play this season.
Whether injured or not, Klopp is likely to rest Mane in Saturday’s Premier League clash against relegation-threatened Stoke City with the German having to manage his players in a period of hectic scheduling.
Liverpool remain in prime position to finish in the top four but must beat the Potters and then avoid defeat against Chelsea next week to secure their spot in next season’s Champions League.