Such luxurious travel arrangements are commonplace for top players but clearly his return in a red shirt, following his miss in the penalty shootout with Cameroon which sent favourites Senegal crashing from the tournament at the quarter final stage, cannot come soon enough.
Yet if Mane was hoping to find Liverpool in the same vibrant shape as he left them on January 3, there was a cold front and a jolting shock waiting for him when he touched down from Libreville.
Dreams of title challenges and cup glory lie in tatters.
Mane will most likely be sitting on the bench on Tuesday when Premier League leaders Chelsea arrive at Anfield for what feels at the moment like the most important match of Liverpool’s season.
On the line? Just the chance to arrest a slump which has seen them win just one game out of eight this year (against League Two opposition), go crashing from two cups including to Championship side Wolves on Saturday, lose three matches on the bounce at Anfield for the first time since 2012 and slip from title challengers to top four hopefuls.
Liverpool need Sadio Mane to save their faltering season
Liverpool fans turn on Jurgen Klopp after defeat against Wolves
Sat, January 28, 2017
Click through the gallery as Liverpool fans vent their frustrations at Jurgen Klopp after defeat against Wolves
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Click through the gallery as Liverpool fans vent frustrations at Jurgen Klopp
No pressure there then.
Paul Lambert’s Wolves were the latest side to expose not only Liverpool’s lack of strength in depth with Jurgen Klopp once again rather recklessly choosing to gamble by fielding a second string side but also their lack of Plan B.
The Championship side followed Plymouth, Swansea, Southampton in arriving with a simple gameplan of packing the middle tight, forcing Klopp’s men to go wide and just waiting for counter-attacking opportunities against a suspect back line.
And they were the latest to deservedly depart with the spoils – courtesy of first half goals from Richard Stearman and Andreas Weimann answered by a solitary strike from Divock Origi late on.
Klopp was asked afterwards whether Liverpool’s January warranted the word ‘crisis’.
“This is not the right time to talk about the whole season but I can’t have an influence on what people think. I do know that it is a few weeks since we don’t fly anymore,” he said.
Andreas Weimann scored as Wolves stunned Liverpool at Anfield
It is the first time in nearly 10 years since Klopp, then forming his managerial career at Mainz, has suffered three consecutive home defeats.
But both he and his players insist he retain faith in his own abilities to turn this around.
“I am still quite a good manager even though we have lost the last three – that doesn’t change. The mood around [the place] that has changed but we need to stay on track,” said the Liverpool manager.
“It makes the pressure even more [for the Chelsea game] but it is about winning football games.”
Philippe Coutinho, who last week signed a new five-year contract with the club, threw his and the rest of the dressing room’s weight behind the manager and his methods.
He said: “It has been a bad week but this is it is not about one week it is about the future. I signed because the manager is a winner, and everyone believes in him.
Philippe Coutinho has backed Jurgen Klopp to turn things around
“I believe in what he does, and everyone inside the dressing room believes he will take this team to titles – that is why I signed a new contract, and that is what we want to do.”
Wolves go into the draw for the fifth round for the first time since 2007-08, when they were knocked out by Cardiff.
But manager Lambert, who watched with pride as the excellent Jon Dadi Bodvarsson led the Icelandic thunder clap at the Anfield Road end, believes that whatever lies in store for them in the deeper stages of the competition the players and fans will never forget lowering Liverpool’s colours.
He said: “It is an incredible bond the supporters and players have together. When you see scenes like that at the end it makes it all worthwhile. It is not about money and cars and houses.
“Days like that make it. Your career is over in a 15 year spell and when you get crowds and games like that my lads will never forget that day and they will be revered for coming to Anfield and winning 15, 20 years down the line.”