Sadio Mane insists he is well on course for a return at the start of pre-season after suffering a season-ending knee injury against Everton last month.
The Senegal international has proved to be a key figure having arrived from Southampton for £30million last summer and is still the club’s leading scorer, despite missing the whole of January due to the African Nations Cup and then sustaining a knee problem against the Toffees which ensured he sat out the final eight matches of the season.
Mane is already looking at stepping up his recovery and is confident his team-mates can deliver Champions League football next season with six points from their last two matches guaranteeing their top-four place.
“It’s getting better, much better. The operation went well. Soon I will be running again and I should be fine for the start of pre-season,” he said.
“Every player wants to play every game but injuries are part of football and I just have to accept it.
“It’s frustrating being out and having to watch, but my team-mates are still doing a great job on the pitch.
“I am very confident that they will get the points we need from the final two matches to get us in the top four.
“We have a great manager and he knows what is required. We all want to get this club into the Champions League.”
Mane’s influence was recognised at the club’s awards night where he was named both players’ player and supporters’ player of the year.
“It means so much to me. I feel at home at this club and in this city,” said the 25-year-old.
“I have enjoyed playing football for this great team. It was the fact that I’m playing alongside so many great players here that meant I was able to settle so quickly.
“My team-mates, the staff, the manager and the supporters have all made me feel so welcome since I joined the club.
“I have loved every minute of playing for Liverpool this season and can’t wait to get back fit to help the team again.”