Mane: I was meant to play under Klopp

Sadio Mane struggled to hide his excitement as he explained how playing for Jurgen Klopp was a huge motivation for him while at Southampton.

The 24-year-old Senegalese international was a target for Klopp during his time at Red Bull Salzburg when the German mentor was in charge of Borussia Dortmund.

A deal failed to materialise, with Mane then joining the Saints, but he never gave up hope of one-day playing under Klopp.

He explained on Goal: “Things didn’t work out back then and it was frustrating, but that’s life – nothing just comes easy.”

Mane, who has scored six goals in 10 appearances for Liverpool added: “I was so excited. I couldn’t believe it – that he wanted to meet and thought I could help his team, who were so good. I used to watch them all the time.

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“I told myself to just carry on working hard, push myself and something big would come. I did that. I went to Southampton, I played well and then, Klopp wanted me again.

“Now I’m lucky enough to be working with one of the best managers in football. It was meant to happen and I am very happy to be learning all the time from him.”

He concluded: “In my head, I knew I was coming to a team that wanted me, to a manager who knew me well, and I was coming to work hard and to help.

“That is all I focused on, not how things would go or what could happen – good or bad. I left my mind open and was ready for anything. I’m very happy to be part of a team with big, big talent with everyone working for each other.

“It makes it easy for a player when you’ve got really good teammates and when everyone wants the same thing.”

Liverpool are currently on top of the Premier League with 30 goals from just 11 matches.