Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool's Sadio Mane hopes to give Pep Guardiola more nightmares

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane terrorised one of Pep Guardiola's teams once before and he will be hoping to do the same on New Year's Eve.

The visit of Manchester City will be the Senegal international's penultimate match before leaving for the African Nations Cup but the Reds' top scorer is keen to leave his mark.

Guardiola is well aware of the capabilities of the pacy forward having found himself on the wrong end of them as Bayern Munich manager.

The German club played a mid-season friendly against Red Bull Salzburg in January 2014 to get themselves ready for the resumption of the Bundesliga the following week but it turned out not to be the preparation Guardiola wanted.

Mane was exceptional on that day, operating on the left-hand side of the forward line - the opposite flank to where he has done all his damage for Liverpool - as he scored the first, won a penalty for the second and provided the assist for the third as he was deservedly named man of the match.

"We won 3-0 and for us to play against a big team like them was a big moment," said Mane.

"I was very happy that day to help make this kind of game and help my team.

"Pep was the Bayern coach so maybe he will remember, but now it is a different type of game, in a different league and this will be a tough game.

"I just have to try to give my best and make the fans and my team-mates proud."

Saturday's encounter pits two of the Premier League's top-scoring sides - who sit second and third in the table - against each other with Jurgen Klopp's side having registered six more goals than the visitors to Anfield.

The evening kick-off is expected to be full of goals and attacking football, with City's top scorer Sergio Aguero back from suspension.

Aguero has 16 goals in all competitions, well ahead of team-mates Raheem Sterling, Nolito and Kelechi Iheanacho who all have six.

By contrast Liverpool's goals have been spread around, with Mane's eight followed by seven for Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi, six for Philippe Coutinho, with Daniel Sturridge and former City midfielder James Milner on five.

"It will be a very good game because it is two open teams and everyone will be excited to play this game," added Mane.

"Maybe we have the best strikers, I can't say. In our mind it is not about being the best, it is about trying to score as many as we can.

"Of course it would help us make a big step if we won but not just against City, we have to try and do that in every game.

"We know we can beat every team in the league and so we are only focusing on ourselves. We don't have to think too much about City."

Mane has settled so quickly since his summer move from Southampton that no-one is now questioning the £30million fee Liverpool paid.

He has also endeared himself to fans, especially after scoring in last week's Merseyside derby which prompted the creation of a festive song just for him - a take on Shakin' Stevens' 'Merry Christmas Everyone' which taunts Everton.

"I like the song the fans sing about me. It makes me happy," said Mane.

"I am very happy to score goals and help Liverpool win games and be successful.

"I don't have a target in mind. I scored 15 for Southampton last season but it's too early to say whether I can reach that now - I hope so."

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