Sadio Mane is expected to be fit and available for Liverpool's Premier League clash against defending champions Leicester City on Saturday (10 September), despite concerns that the pacy forward may have suffered an injury setback while away on international duty with Senegal.
Former Southampton star Mane, who followed the well-trodden path from the south coast to Anfield in a £34m ($45.2m) transfer earlier this summer, was replaced by head coach Aliou Cisse in the 66th minute of a final 2017 African Nations Cup Group K qualifier against Namibia at the Stade Leopold Senghor in Dakar on Saturday night.
The Lions of Teranga, who sealed their place in January's competition in Gabon with a victory over Burundi in June, eventually won the tie 2-0 courtesy of goals from Lazio's Keita Balde Diao and Stoke City striker Mame Biriam Diouf.
Mane's premature withdrawal caused a certain degree of panic back on Merseyside, with the Liverpool Echo suggesting he may have suffered a knee problem. Jurgen Klopp appeared understandably concerned by such speculation and is said to have telephoned his headline summer recruit for a personal update.
Much to his relief, however, multiple publications – including the Echo and Sky Sports – are now reporting that the player reported for training and recovery at Melwood on Monday unscathed.
Fast start for Mane
Having scored 21 goals in 67 top-flight outings for Southampton following his £10m arrival from Red Bull Salzburg two years ago, Mane wasted little time in justifying his position as the most expensive African footballer of all time with a superb performance in a pre-season rout of Barcelona and a memorable solo goal on his competitive debut away at Arsenal.
The 24-year-old missed the subsequent shock defeat by newly-promoted Burnley due to a shoulder knock sustained after an awkward fall in training. That injury proved to be less serious than first thought and he returned to action with 90 minutes for Liverpool in a 5-0 EFL Cup second-round thrashing of Championship side Burton Albion.
Mane also started in a 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur before the international break, where only a combination of the offside flag and some fearless goalkeeping from Michel Vorm denied him another strike. He was also slightly fortunate not to be shown a second yellow card by referee Bobby Madley after following a late challenge on Dele Alli with a couple of risky fouls on Danny Rose.
Klopp is expected to welcome back Ragnar Klavan for that eagerly anticipated tea-time kick-off against Leicester, while Lucas Leiva claims he is at "100%" after a hamstring issue. However, Emre Can faces a race against time to be fit following an ankle injury and the game will surely come too early for goalkeeper Loris Karius, as he continues ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken hand. All of Liverpool's international players will have to be assessed, including Philippe Coutinho, who is not due back from Brazil's World Cup qualifying clash with Colombia in Manaus until Thursday morning.