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    Friday, 11 February 2022

    Jurgen Klopp discusses Luis Diaz decision as Mane returns

    Sadio Mane has returned from the African Cup of Nations and could feature for Liverpool on Sunday


    Jurgen Klopp has sought to calm the clamour over new signing Luis Diaz as Liverpool prepare to welcome African Cup of Nations hero Sadio Mane back into the fold.

    Diaz, a £49million capture from Porto before deadline day last month, was an impressive performer on his first Premier  League start for the Reds in Thursday's 2-0 home win over Leicester City .

    Klopp claimed immediately after the game the 25-year-old attacker "already looks like a Liverpool player" having contributed an assist on his debut in the FA Cup against Cardiff City at the weekend.

    But the Reds boss has issued a reminder it will take time for Diaz to fully adjust to life at Anfield.

    "What has allowed him to start so well? His skillset and character," said Klopp on Friday.

    "It was his first (full) game and was probably one of the best I've ever seen from a new player, that's true, and he looked completely natural.

    "But it's only a first game. We have to see how he will adapt to all the different stuff, intensity, all these kind of things.

    "There is no rush. Last night was a very good opportunity to start him because of Sadio not being here yet and Mo (Salah) coming back from an incredibly intense tournament. Luis showed up."

    Diaz played in the left flank role normally occupied by Mane, who has been absent for the last seven games as he helped Senegal win the AFCON for the first time last Sunday.

    And while Liverpool will make a late decision on Mane's involvement at Burnley on Sunday, skipper Jordan Henderson is available after missing the Leicester game with a back issue.

    "Sadio will come for training this morning and we will make a decision after that," said Klopp on Friday.

    "He will probably emotionally still be high-flying but physically we have to see how intense it was for him, the last few days.

    "Hendo will definitely be back, that was the plan before the Leicester game. If nothing happens, he will play on Sunday."

    Both Joe Gomez and Divock Origi failed to make the bench against Leicester with Klopp having an almost full-strength squad from which to choose.

    And the Reds boss explained: "They were not injured, but it didn't happen a lot that we have these kind of quality players who cannot make the squad.

    "For Joe, obviously we had to make a decision whether we wanted a second centre-half on the bench or not.

    "With Div, he's not too long back in training after his injury. Both will train fully."

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