Jurgen Klopp says he is concerned about Sadio Mane, who has now played competitively almost non-stop for over a year.
After the World Cup last year, Mane had a summer break, but since then, he returned for pre-season, played the whole of the 2018-19 campaign and has then been away for a few weeks after the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.
He’s then cut short a three-week break from football to return to Melwood for this year’s pre-season on August 5, a week before the Premier League begins again.
Klopp, though, says the demands are simply too much on his players, with Mane just one of a few players in a similar situation.
According to The Telegraph, he said: “Sadio’s season, after he played the (African Nations Cup) final, will be 13 months. A 13 month season, that is how it is.
“He’s played pretty much every game for Senegal. He’s played each game for us. Every international break, he is away.
“We need to calm this down. We need proper breaks, then you will get world-class performances. Then you can enjoy these boys in the long-term and it will be easier for the younger ones to come through.
“We have to win pretty much every game. So where is the space for development? We have to make sure all together that there is enough space for the boys to recover and then to go again. Like it was in the good old times, by the way.”
Klopp is, course, correct. Critics, though, would point to the fact that he has chosen not to sign a back-up forward that would allow Mane a rest from time to time, especially with Xherdan Shaqiri currently out injured.
It doesn’t sound like Mane will be starting against Norwich City on the opening day, while he’ll definitely miss the Community Shield against Manchester City. Divock Origi is likely to be used in both of those games.