A “sorry” Sadio Mane explained he was simply doing his job after helping Liverpool defeat old club Southampton 2-1 on Saturday.
Mane, who starred over at St Mary’s between 2014 and 2016, returned to score the opening goal to help Liverpool maintain their winning start to the new Premier League season.
The former Saints striker scored from the edge of the penalty area just before the break. He later turned provider for team-mate Roberto Firmino to pull off a neat little finish and hand Liverpool a commanding lead.
While ex-Reds man Danny Ings’ 83rd-minute goal set-up a nervy ending, the European champions held on to claim a 2-1 victory and leave Southampton with no points and in the relegation zone after two games.
Despite the obvious affection he still retains for his old club, however, Mane pointed out Liverpool are his priority.
“I’m sorry it is against my old team and sorry I have to score but I’m wearing a Liverpool shirt now,” the Senegal star told BBC.
“Southampton was a very good step for me, I have big respect for this club.
“It is an amazing place. I learned a lot here and they are very nice people. But it is part of football and you have to deal with it.”
On the match itself, Mane said: “It was not an easy game but you have to expect a tough game like this at this stage of the season.
“After playing 120 minutes on Wednesday [in the UEFA Super Cup] it was not easy and we know it would be difficult. It was not easy and it took us a little bit of time to get going.
“But we got the three points and I think we deserved it. Once we scored the first goal it was easier for us.”
The Reds received a welcome boost prior to the game when Adrian overcame a freak ankle injury to start in goal.
However, the former West Ham goalkeeper couldn’t repeat his heroics from Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup win. He instead hit a ball clearance into Ings’ shin and the striker didn’t hesitate to pull one back for Southampton.
It inspired Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side to go all-out for a late equaliser, with Adrian making amends by smartly saving a close-range header from Maya Yoshida.
“I was nervous because it wasn’t over. We had another 10 minutes to go,” Mane added.
“It was tough for us and of course we expect that here. it can happen, it is part of football.”
Liverpool will now welcome Arsenal at Anfield next Saturday in their third game of the Premier League season.