Liverpool’s star Sadio Mane has revealed how Jurgen Klopp altered the training schedule to support the Muslim players during the month of Ramadan.
Mane is one of the few Muslim players in the team, along with his striking partner Mohamed Salah, midfielder Naby Keita, and the newly acquired defender Ibrahima Konate.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which Muslims abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. The fasting makes it difficult for professional athletes to keep up with training schedules and games. Liverpool, however, has been mindful of this.
In a talk show with beIN SPORTS, Sadio Mane said that he approached Liverpool’s captain Jordan Henderson to request Klopp to change the schedule. The manager then shifted the training session to the morning.
“It’s not easy because playing and training and doing Ramadan isn’t easy at all,” he told beIN Sports. “But before Ramadan we tried to talk to the captain and to tell the boss maybe can we change the schedule?”
“We train in the morning. It’s easier for us. If you train in the morning then you have time to rest and go home,” he added.
The Senegalese striker also credited his nutritionist for her help: “Game day is something else but with Ramadan it’s tough. Liverpool tried to make everything easier for us. We spoke with our nutritionist, especially before the game; she made everything easier for us.”
On Wednesday, Mane was on the scoresheet as Liverpool defeated Villareal by 2-0 at Anfield. He is now on par with Didier Drogba to become an African player to score the most number of goals in the Champions League knockout stage.
Mane has done exceptionally well in his new role as a striker. He started on the right-wing, then shifted to the left to accommodate Salah, and now plays as a centre forward.
“He started for us here at Liverpool on the right wing, the older ones in the room will remember he scored at Arsenal, maybe his first goal when he cut inside and fired the ball with his left foot in the far corner,” said Klopp about how Mane has adapted to the new role.