Jürgen Klopp has revealed Sadio Mane took another step towards full fitness by running with his teammates on Tuesday – but confirmed the forward will remain at Melwood when Liverpool depart for Hong Kong this weekend.
The Senegal international is continuing his rehabilitation programme from the knee injury that ended his 2016-17 season prematurely back in April and subsequently required surgery.
The Reds said last week Mane is expected to resume full training in the near future, and he reached the latest milestone in that recovery schedule by joining the rest of the players in a cardiovascular exercise yesterday.
However, Klopp explained Mane will not be part of the squad that jets out for the Premier League Asia Trophy on Sunday and will instead remain on Merseyside to continue to work on his fitness.
LFCTV GO: Klopp offers Mane fitness update
The boss told Liverpoolfc.com: “He is really, really good. He is close; he is closing on coming back to team training.
“In this moment, we think it will be when we are in Asia, so then it makes no sense to take him to Asia because he needs to then do the first steps in kind of team training. We will see how we can do it; maybe [some of] the U23s will be here, so when he can start this [training] then we can use this opportunity, but we have to wait.
“On Tuesday morning he was part of the running, so he is first-team training if you want and that looked really good. I think he is getting better, but it is how it is after a long time – you need to build a little bit of muscle again in the quad and thigh, which is important.
“There is no risk with him because he is a naturally fit boy and in the moment when he can start to be a real part of the sessions, he will then immediately be fit again. We have not all the time in the world, but we have time and we will use it.”
You can watch Liverpool's first pre-season friendly of the summer against Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park on Wednesday exclusively live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO. Click here for details.