Joe Gomez says Sadio Mane’s presence provides Liverpool with a big boost in confidence while also psychologically damaging their opponents after the winger’s winning goal against Norwich on Saturday.
Having missed his side’s Premier League clashes against West Ham and Southampton, the Senegal international made his return when he came off the bench for the last 30 minutes at Carrow Road.
With the game tied at 0-0, Mane’s introduction proved decisive as he went on to score the winning goal with just 12 minutes left.
And Reds team-mate Gomez was full of praise for the 27-year-old after he netted his 16th goal in just 32 appearances in all competitions.
“All the different ways and different forms of goals, it shows his quality and we were lucky to have him come off the bench but obviously that was due to his injury,” the Liverpool centre-back told the club’s website.
“What a player, he gives you a boost of confidence when he’s coming on and psychologically for another team it’s not nice! He’s massive and he’s popped up for us in so many moments this year and done it yet again.”
He added: “As the game went on, obviously the first half was 0-0 and we knew we needed to come out on the front foot and I think we did that.
“Obviously you are conscious of the time as the game goes on where we need a goal, but at the same time it’s about staying focused because if they clinch one then it changes the whole logistics of things.
“It’s a bit of a luxury to have Sadio Mane come off the bench but when he does and gets that goal it’s massive.”
While Jurgen Klopp’s team are closing in on the Premier League title, they are also looking to defend their Champions League crown and remain in the FA Cup.
The Anfield outfit face Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their European tie on Wednesday and Gomez feels the squad are fresh and ready for an intense run of fixtures.
“We’ve had the winter break and now it’s down the home stretch,” he added. “We know how important this run of games is as it’s an intense period of the season and it’s crunch time really.
“It’s the most important part and you just build the foundation from the start of the season to this period here. We are blessed to have the squad that we do and everyone will have to play their part to get us over the line.”