Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has revealed he initially had some reservations about working with Jurgen Klopp after the German manager tried to sign him for Borussia Dortmund in 2014.
The Senegalese star has played an invaluable role in Liverpool's recent successes under Klopp, starring during their successful 2018/19 Champions League campaign, as well as helping guide the Reds to a 97 point haul in the Premier League - which, astonishingly, was only good enough to finish second.
Despite his career blossoming under the guidance of the eccentric German manager, Mane has now revealed in an extensive interview with the Sunday Times that his first exchanges with Klopp - back in 2014 when he was playing for Red Bull Salzburg - were a little off-putting for a shy youngster still trying to make it in the game, but he soon realised that he was somebody that he could warm to in the future.
"He was talking too much and I said, "Wow, this is going to be tough for me because I'm a little quiet," Mane said.
"Everybody loves him and that is more important, to be honest. He is a bit of a funny guy but at the same time he is a serious guy. Usually when I am talking to him off the pitch it is about personal things.
"Things about lifestyle and life - and that is important to me. I think I have somebody I can confide in."
Mane signed for Liverpool from Southampton in a £34m deal back in 2016 and his career has gone from strength to strength at Anfield. After bagging 26 goals in all competitions and winning a shared Premier League Golden Boot award last season, he is now regarded as one of the best forwards in world football.
The 27-year-old attributes his success to hard work, revealing that hours and hours of practice on his finishing had helped him become the player he is today.
“In Africa, everybody, everywhere is just dribbling. We don’t take our time to do shooting like here. African players are not so good at shooting. We have to recognise that this is true, and I would say true of 60% of all [African players].
“I try to do extra shooting all the time after training, and it’s really important for any player. I am always trying to get better and better.”
Mane's fine form has continued this season, with five league goals, and eight overall, helping to fire Liverpool to the Premier League summit.