Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was pleased with what he saw from Sadio Mane on his Reds debut, along with the other two new recruits that featured in Friday’s friendly with Tranmere Rovers.
Joel Matip and goalkeeper Loris Karius also all made their first appearances for the club in the 1-0 win over the non-league opposition at Prenton Park, with Danny Ings grabbing the only goal of the night.
Mane, who joined from Southampton in a £30 million move earlier this month, impressed in a 45-minute outing in the first of nine Liverpool preseason friendlies, leaving the German manager content.
Klopp told a news conference: “He was quite good so I was satisfied. It’s something like an exciting two weeks or 10 days — it took a little bit of time.
“He trained a lot in this break and he did what he had to do and now he is here. [He is a] very, very nice guy to be honest and a good football player. Everybody could see in the first half, with really tired legs, he really played a good game. He could have scored of course, he could have done one of the other things a little bit better but I was fine [with him].”
On Karius and new centre-back Matip, Klopp added: “He’s a good goalkeeper and [there is] no doubt about this — that’s why we made a transfer, by the way. Second new player Joel Matip, he had a little surgery in the break. He had a screw in his ankle and they had to take it out because of an older injury, so a little bit of infection and only two weeks in training.
“You could see in the first half that he couldn’t jump, which is actually his big strength. He lost one or two headed challenges. You see in preseason, that’s OK, that’s not OK and you work on it or you ignore it, whatever. Obviously, Sadio was most impressive player in the first half for a new player because he had really good moments and played brilliantly with Roberto Firmino.”
During the game, news broke of Reds defender Mamadou Sakho being cleared of an anti-doping by UEFA.
However, Klopp would not be fully be drawn into his thoughts on the development due to its freshness and said he is pleased that the ordeal is over for the France international.
“I heard something about but not all,” Klopp continued. “So it’s not possible for me, in the moment, to speak. Maybe we should wait and one or two days and then I can say everything to this.
“Obviously, if it is like you say then it’s a hard time over for Mama — that’s for sure. It was not pretty easy but all the rest, I have to talk to him and talk to people who know more.”
Klopp admitted to reporters that decisions have to be made about the size of his squad, believing he currently has too many players on his books.
With a number returning from loan and a lack of games with no European football on offer at Anfield this season, the German boss revealed that departures can be expected.
“All these players that came back from loans they are, in the moment, in the squad. That’s the situation and we have to see,” Klopp said. “My job is to give them the best training they can and we may have to make decisions because today we had 20 [players] then we had three or four at home, 14 in travel so 38 [players in total]. That’s 100 percent too much, so we will have to make a few decisions.
“Each club which will take a player from us we can be sure that he had two or three really good weeks of hard intensive training in his legs and will be fit as possible.”