Sadio Mane says the suffering and pain caused by the coronavirus outbreak means he would “accept it” if Liverpool were denied their 30-year wait for title glory.
The Reds are a massive 25 points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table having won 27 of their 29 top-flight games this term and were on the brink of being crowned champions for the first time since 1990 before the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mane, himself, has been one of the stars of Liverpool’s campaign, sitting top of our Player of the Year rankings and also favourite with the bookmakers to be crowned Premier League PFA Player of the Year.
It remains unclear when football will return and the possibility remains that the season could be declared void.
But while that nightmare scenario has Liverpool fans fretting, Mane says he will understand whatever decision is made.
Speaking to talkSPORT and replying to a question about whether he felt like a champion yet, the 27-year-old from Senegal said: “I think not yet. I love my job and I love football, I want to win on the pitch.
“I want to win the games and I want to get the trophy, it’s what I would love.
“But with this situation, whatever happens I will understand.”
Putting the Reds’ position into perspective, Mane reflected: “It has been difficult for Liverpool, but it has been more difficult for many millions of people around the world.
“Some people have lost family members and that is the more complicated situation.
“But for myself, it’s my dream and I want to win it this year.
“If that’s not the case, I will accept, it’s part of life. Hopefully we will win it next year.”
Mane may still, of course, get his dream outcome this season and Liverpool have been given hope via recent comments from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
“I see no way for Liverpool to stay untitled. If the championship resumes, they will almost certainly win it,” Ceferin said.
“Theoretically, it has not yet reached the guaranteed level, but it is practically close.
“However, if it could not be played, it would also be necessary to announce the results in some way and find some key on how the champions should be determined.
“And, of course, again I do not see a scenario in which that would not be Liverpool.
“I understand that fans will be disappointed if it happens in an empty stadium or even at the green table, but I believe they will win the title one way or another.”
There have also been encouraging signs for Liverpool elsewhere with the Belgian league becoming the first major European competition to recommend ending its season with the current standings declared final because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Club Brugge are 15 points clear and would be awarded the title if the advice is confirmed at a general assembly meeting on April 15.