Sadio Mane has revealed that the pain of losing the title to Manchester City last season is driving Liverpool towards their first Premier League crown.
The Reds are 13 points clear at the top of the table going into tomorrow’s game with Wolves and seem certain to end a title drought that has lasted since 1990.
Liverpool have not lost in the Premier League since City beat them 2-1 at the Etihad on January 3 but they missed out on the title by one point last season after blowing the 10-point lead they held at the end of December.
Their response this season has been to win 17 and draw one of their 18 matches, with their latest win a 4-0 win at second-placed Leicester. ‘We have learned from the mistake last year,’ said Mane, who has nine league goals this season. ‘That was a tough time for us. If you lose the league that hurts you in the head mentally, so we always focus on the same target — we want to win something.
‘We are better this season in what we’re trying to do. There are so many games but it’s not about physical tiredness. You have to be mentally sharp.’
Liverpool’s display was particularly impressive given they had won the Club World Cup, after extra-time, against Flamengo in Doha only five days earlier.
In February, they meet Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, a trophy they won last season. By May, Jurgen Klopp’s side could hold the Premier League, Champions League and Club World crowns at the same time.
Virgil van Dijk has been consistently outstanding in defence, and gave Jamie Vardy, the division’s leading scorer, no room at all at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day. Liverpool have the meanest defence in the top flight, with only 14 goals conceded.
The Dutchman said: ‘We want clean sheets. With the quality we have up front there’s always going to be a moment when we are creating a chance.
‘Most of the players are used to playing every three days so far. We travelled back from Qatar on Sunday, so we had treatment on the plane.
‘We had three full days to prepare for Leicester, everyone was ready to go. We didn’t need to be extra- motivated for that game.
‘Now we have the opportunity to get ready for Wolves and that’s going to be a completely different game again.
‘It will be tough and hopefully will be at our best, but it’s not always possible. But it’s all about winning games and (continuing to) do it.’
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s postponed Premier League match at West Ham has been rescheduled for Wednesday, January 29.
The clash had to be moved due to the Reds’ involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup last weekend.