Aiming to be the Mane man at Anfield

Liverpool's Sadio Mane takes the ball past Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during the Premier League match at Anfield
Liverpool's Sadio Mane takes the ball past Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during the Premier League match at Anfield

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is relishing the prospect of scaring defenders with his blistering pace.

The Senegal international has already begun to justify the £30million price tag which accompanied his summer move from Southampton with another impressive performance in the 4-1 win over Premier League champions Leicester.

It was certainly enjoyed by the club’s principal owner John W Henry, who on his way to speak to the players in the dressing room afterwards, remarked: “That was some football, hey?”

Mane scored to make it 2-0 and made the fourth goal for Roberto Firmino, his second of the match, but it was the sheer speed and directness of his attacks which caused the Foxes numerous problems.

“I will be happy if they are afraid of me because it will make it easier for me,” said the softly-spoken 24-year-old, who received a standing ovation when he was substituted late on, having quickly become a crowd favourite. He is already being compared to the likes of John Barnes.

Mane added: “When you are new it can sometimes be difficult to adapt into the team. But it is easy with great players like Daniel (Sturridge), Philippe (Coutinho) and Roberto (Firmino) as well.

“When you play in a stadium like Anfield you want to give your best and get an ovation at the end, so I try.

“I’m just pleased because it is a great compliment to be compared to the legendary players, but I am still young and learning and need to give my best for the team.

“Yes, I am in a good way, but you have to work. That work started on the day I signed and now I have to keep going in training and show it every game.”

Liverpool’s delayed first appearance of the season at Anfield was as a result of building work being completed on the new Main Stand and the performance was a fitting way to celebrate the opening of the £115million structure.

Firmino (two), Mane and Adam Lallana scored the hosts’ goals and they were only briefly troubled when stand-in centre-back Lucas Leiva panicked on the ball and inexplicably passed to the unmarked Jamie Vardy six yards out.