Mane: Why I wanted Philippe Coutinho's No.10 at Liverpool

The Senegal forward is thrilled to get the number back following the Brazilian’s departure

Sadio Mane says he had no hesitation when the opportunity to replace Philippe Coutinho as Liverpool’s No.10 arose over the summer.

The Brazil international’s January move to Barcelona left the number vacant for the start of the 2018-19 campaign.

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And having worn the shirt while at Red Bull Salzburg, Southampton and for his country Senegal, it was a natural switch for Mane.

“I was very happy to get it because I have always taken the No.10 everywhere I have gone,” he explained, according to the Liverpool Echo.

“When I first came to Liverpool, Philippe (Coutinho) had it so I was happy with my number 19.

“But when he left I thought: it is free, I want to take the number 10 because it has always been my favourite number.

“Everywhere I go, I wore No.10 and now I wear it for Liverpool.”

As well as inheriting Coutinho’s number, Mane has also taken on the responsibility of helping to fill the void left by the playmaker.

After helping Liverpool reach the Champions League final – scoring in the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid – he has netted four goals already this term for the early Premier League leaders.

In what will represent the most significant test of Liverpool’s title credentials so far, Jurgen Klopp’s side put their 100% start to the campaign on the line on Saturday against a Chelsea side who are also unbeaten under new boss Maurizio Sarri.

But Mane says Liverpool’s six straight wins means they travel to West London under no pressure.

“Honestly, at the moment we have no pressure,” said the Reds winger. “I can say we have a good team, a big squad and we have got a good amount of points. So why create pressure?

“The confidence is here because we are playing well and winning games so we will try to take it game by game. It is early in the season, we are looking forward and we want to keep more focused than ever.

“This season we want to believe everything is possible. A team like Liverpool can do it, but it will not be easy. We have to believe in ourselves as a team.”