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Roberto Firmino

'You don't need your eye to play!' - Mane reveals Firmino text ahead of Liverpool's PSG win

14:00 EAT 19/09/2018
Roberto Firmino Liverpool 2018-19
The Brazilian overcame a nasty injury to score the winner in the Reds' opening Champions League group game at Anfield

He may not have scored, but Sadio Mane has revealed he played a major role in Liverpool's Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

The Reds got their European campaign off to a typically dramatic start at Anfield, with Roberto Firmino's stoppage-time strike giving them a thrilling 3-2 win over the Ligue 1 champions.

The Brazilian had started the game on the bench following a nasty eye injury sustained at Tottenham on Saturday, but showed his vision was spot on with an unerring 92nd-minute strike to give Jurgen Klopp's side all three points.

Klopp said afterwards that Firmino would have had "no chance" of featuring at all had the game been 24 hours earlier, but that the striker informed him he was okay to play on the morning of the contest.

And Mane says that he did his bit to make sure his team-mate was part of the squad.

He told reporters: “I think Bobby doesn't need his eye to play so I told him! I sent him a message on Monday saying: 'Hey Bobby, come on, we need you.'

"You've all seen the 'no look' goals so I think he doesn't need his eye to play. I texted him saying: 'You don't need your eye!'"

Liverpool will be glad Firmino listened, as he proved to be their match-winner for the third game in succession. Klopp's men have now won their opening six games in all competitions this season.

“It's a great start," Mane said. "It is too early to speak about anything but it is very important for us to focus more because we are Liverpool, we are a stronger team, and we will try to do our best every game."

Victory over PSG, though, is significant. The French side had arrived loaded with star names, with the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria, Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani all in their ranks.

Mbappe looked to have snatched an unlikely point for the Parisiens with a sucker punch seven minutes from time, but Liverpool's belief and strength of character saw them find an extra gear when it mattered.

“I think it's a big result honestly," Mane said. "It is very important for us to keep going on our good run. It was not an easy game because PSG are one of the best teams in the world but we played very well and deserved to win.

“I think it is about desire and belief, it is what we try to do. We have quality in the team and I think it is mentally free to go forward and believe it until the end. It is what we tried and finally we scored the third goal, which was very important for the team."

Important, too, was Klopp's ability to use his squad. Firmino's absence from the starting line-up gave a chance to Daniel Sturridge, who marked his first Champions League start for the club - and his first in any competition this season - with a goal in front of the Kop. Jordan Henderson, stepping in for Naby Keita, was outstanding in midfield, while Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri were given brief runs off the bench.

“It is normal if you see the high level of all of them," added Mane. "We have to be as professional as we can and try to recover as fast as we can. We also have a great team with many players which is very strong. If I am tired some players will be coming in.

“Sometimes you need [a rest]. You do not like to but sometimes your body tells you you need to rest. But the manager is prepared for it and he knows his team more than most so he tries to help us cope with it."

Next up for Liverpool, as they look for a Magnificent Seven to start the campaign, is Mane's former club Southampton at Anfield this weekend. A home banker on paper, but one the Senegalese star is more than ready for.

“This season we have improved a lot against teams all over the table," he said. "Even if it's not the highest score we score but the most important for us is the three points. We know it won't be the easiest game for us with a game every three days but we have to take it seriously and try to do our best."