Sadio Mane "close" to Liverpool return

Sadio Mane celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on February 11, 2017
© SilverHub
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reveals that Sadio Mane will not travel with the squad for their pre-season tour of Hong Kong, but insists that he is close to a return.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Sadio Mane will not travel with the team on their pre-season trip to Hong Kong, but stressed that the Senegal international is "close" to returning from a knee injury.

Mane has been sidelined since April 1 after injuring his meniscus during the Merseyside derby against Everton, bringing a premature end to a debut season at Anfield which saw him score 13 Premier League goals.

The 25-year-old is expected to resume full training next week, but Klopp will leave him at Melwood while the rest of the squad travel to Hong Kong for the Premier League Asia Trophy on Sunday.

"He is really, really good. He is close; he is closing on coming back to team training. In this moment we think it will be when we are in Asia, so then it makes no sense to take him to Asia because he needs to then do the first steps in kind of team training," he told the club's official website.

"We will see how we can do it; maybe the U23s will be here, so when he can start (training) then we can use this opportunity, but we have to wait. On Tuesday morning he was part of the running, so he is first-team training if you want and that looked really good.

"I think he is getting better, but it is how it is after a long time - you need to build a little bit of muscle again in the quad and thigh, which is important. There is no risk with him because he is a naturally-fit boy and in the moment when he can start to be a real part of the sessions, he will then immediately be fit again. We have not all the time in the world, but we have time and we will use it."

Mane was named Liverpool's Player of the Year for his performances in his debut season at the club.

Lucas Leiva of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on October 4, 2015 in Liverpool, England.
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