Sadio Mane joked his Liverpool team-mates should call him Cristiano Ronaldo after successfully deputising for Roberto Firmino.
Mane struck twice as Premier League leaders Liverpool thrashed Watford 5-0 on Wednesday to stay a point ahead of title rivals Manchester City.
Firmino missed the game due to an ankle injury with Jurgen Klopp asking Mane to fill in for the Brazil international in a central role.
Mane headed Liverpool into an early lead and later added a brilliant backheel in a thumping of the Hornets at Anfield.
And the Senegal star would relish the opportunity to play up front again, but only if his team-mates call him Ronaldo.
“To be honest I was quite surprised,” Mane told Sky Sports. “I never played there before, I was nervous.
“Before the game the coach called me and said, ‘Okay we are going to make some changes, Sadio you have to play number nine’.
“I said, ‘Oh!’, and I looked at my team-mates… I was laughing and I said, ‘We are a team so you have to trust me!’
“They were all laughing at me but I said, ‘From today, call me Ronaldo or Firmino!’
“Gini [Wijnaldum] said, ‘You have to score. If you score we’ll call you Ronaldo, if not, you’re s***!’
“I was lucky to score two goals but honestly I don’t mind. I’m happy to play left or right side but if the team or the coach needs me as a striker, I’ll try again.”
— Sadio Mané (@10SadioMane) February 23, 2019
City can move into top spot when they travel to Bournemouth on Saturday, a day before Liverpool face rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby.
“Of course it is one of the more important derbies because we know what we want this season,” added Mane.
“But after all it is like any other game. We need to focus and give everything to win it.”
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