SADIO MANE today lifts the lid on why he has become Liverpool’s Incredible Sulk.
The Kop superstar’s moody body language fuelled speculation he is unhappy at Anfield.
But, although he insists that is not the case, Mane does admit he is “frustrated” at the way his season has gone and has vowed to work harder.
The Reds’ £30million striker said: “I need to be consistent and push myself. That’s why I sometimes get frustrated when things don’t work out for me.
“I need to work harder than I have previously done.
“I am fine — you can ask my team-mates. But I demand a lot from myself so, when I am not scoring or performing at a certain level, I give myself pressure.
“I will have to keep working harder and harder to get better.”
Mane had a furious pitch bust-up with Kop boss Jurgen Klopp at the end of November’s 1-1 Anfield draw with Chelsea.
The player threw a tantrum after coming on as an 89th-minute sub before storming down the tunnel.
Then Mane refused to celebrate his wonder goal in the 2-1 New Year’s Day triumph over Burnley — only his second Premier League goal since August.
And he looked a picture of misery as he trudged off after being subbed in the 72nd minute.
But Mane, 25, declared: “The coach has a job to make sure the team wins. Every player wants to play all the time. It’s normal. Sometimes you get to play, sometimes you don’t.
“Last season I scored 13 Premier League goals. Now, it is January and I have just five.
“I expect more from myself so, even though I scored a good goal against Burnley, I did not celebrate because I want more.
“I did not look happy when I was substituted because I thought I could do better.”
Despite his frustrations, the African Footballer of the Year runner-up denied any rift between him and the club’s German boss.
The Senegal star said: “Klopp is a special man, a very special man. He understands how to deal with people. He respects the feelings of players.
“He has something to teach, how to play, he also pays a lot of attention to detail. He is a major reason why I have grown as a player and a person and I am very happy to work with him.”
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Liverpool will this afternoon try to become the first English team to beat runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City.
And they will attempt it without star playmaker Philippe Coutinho following his £145m transfer to Barcelona last week. That will put more pressure on the three remaining members of Klopp’s ‘Fab Four’ — Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Mane was Liverpool’s outstanding performer last season, despite missing a month at the African Nations Cup and having his season ended on April 1 by a knee injury.
But Salah — a £34.3m summer signing from Roma — has enjoyed his own phenomenal start to his Anfield career. He is the Reds’ top scorer with 23 goals in all competitions and helped Egypt qualify for this summer’s World Cup.
Salah, 25, also pipped Mane to be crowned African Footballer of the Year earlier this month.
There have been suggestions Mane is envious of Salah’s success, with Arsenal legend Ian Wright claiming Mane looked a “little bit perturbed” in recent weeks, asking: “Do you think there’s a bit of jealousy there?” Mane denied that, saying: “You cannot have two winners so I’m very happy for Mo because he’s a great man.
“It’s ridiculous to think one person is jealous of the other. Mo’s one of my best friends at the club.”
And Salah insisted: “People talk about rivalry but this is not true.”
The pair are desperate to avenge Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing at the Etihad in September — especially as Mane was sent off. It was Klopp’s heaviest loss since taking charge in October 2015.
But Salah and Mane are not frightened of Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering quadruple-chasers.
Salah said: “We only focus on three points. That’s how we think.”
Mane added: “We do not concern ourselves with things like records.”
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