Jurgen Klopp has refused to rule Sadio Mane out of the first Premier League match of the season, despite the Senegalese winger not yet being back at Melwood for training.
Mane will miss the Community Shield fixture against Manchester City on Sunday, only returning after the Africa Cup of Nations for pre-season on Monday, just four days before the first match of the new campaign at Anfield.
It had been assumed that Mane would therefore miss out against Norwich City next Friday, but it seems that is not necessarily the case.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Klopp said: “Sadio had 16 days off, he will be in a good shape. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t eat too much, he had a training programme.
“Maybe after 10 days probably he started with a little bit of running, so I think he will be fine. But we have to see.”
Whether Mane starts or is perhaps named on the bench remains to be seen, but the latter is the more likely scenario. Having him on the pitch for a few minutes, though, would be a big boost.
Given the lack of other options in the forward line, particularly on the left-hand side, getting Mane back to his peak condition and keeping him fit for the season will be a hugely important task.