Sadio Mane believes the confidence which has returned to Liverpool’s squad can now propel them towards a strong end to the season after thanking the club’s fans for welcoming him back into the fold.
The Senegal international scored both goals in the weekend win over fellow top-four rivals Tottenham to lift a cloud which had been hanging over the club since the turn of the year.
A first Premier League win in 2017 has got the side up and running again and Mane, now the club’s top scorer with 11 goals, insists the focus is purely on what can be achieved in the remainder of the campaign.
“It’s too early to speak about what’s going to happen but the confidence is back in this team now,” said the 24-year-old, who is set to fly out to La Manga in south-east Spain with the rest of the squad on Wednesday for a five-day training camp.
“We have a team with great qualities. What happened has happened.
“We can’t change that but the motivation is there to keep improving and get whatever we can from the rest of the season.
“Those kind of moments can happen in a season. We had three or four difficult weeks but we are out of that now.
“We had to produce a reaction and we did that.
“We have to take it game by game and try to win every game between now and the end of the season.
“We have time to rest and time to train so we need to use that.”
Liverpool’s slump coincided with Mane’s absence at the African Nations Cup, where he reached the quarter-finals with Senegal before missing the deciding penalty in a shoot-out.
On his return it took him a while to get back up to speed after a substitute appearance in the 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea and 90 minutes in the 2-0 defeat at Hull but he was afforded an Anfield standing ovation after scoring twice against Spurs.
“I want to thank all the supporters for what they have done for me,” he added.
“I know that sometimes it hasn’t been easy for them but they are always behind us and always pushing us. We try to give our best for them.
“It has really lifted me since I came back. I feel like I’m back now.
“Even when I am not here, my heart is always in Liverpool.
“When we weren’t playing (in between matches in the African Nations Cup) I was watching the Liverpool matches and it was difficult.
“It wasn’t easy at times because the results were not so good but that can happen.
“Now we have bounced back and we have to keep it like this.”