Sadio Mane is confident that he is back to his best form after scoring a brace in Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Tottenham at the weekend.
The Reds won just one match in seven during Mane's commitments at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, where he missed a decisive penalty in their shootout defeat to Cameroon in the semi-finals, while the first two games upon his return resulted in a draw against Chelsea and defeat to Hull City.
However, the pacy forward fired Liverpool to a much-needed triumph over top-four rivals Spurs at Anfield to take his tally in the Premier League this season to 11.
Mane insists that he was not using tiredness as an excuse following his AFCON adventure and that it was merely a case of getting back up to speed for Liverpool.
"I was so happy to score two important goals for the team," Mane told the Liverpool Echo.
"We deserved that win. We played great football from the beginning to the end.
"I feel like I'm back now. I'm a professional footballer. I don't ever look for excuses like I am tired or something.
"I was okay to play against Chelsea and Hull. I discussed it with the coach and I was happy to be out on the pitch. But I felt much better against Tottenham.
"Now I want to perform at that level and do my best for the rest of the season."
Even while Mane was away on international duty he kept one eye on how things were going for Liverpool back in England, saying: "It was difficult because the results were not so good.
"When we weren't playing or training, I was watching the Liverpool matches and wishing the best for my team-mates.
"Even when I am not here, my heart is always in Liverpool. Now we have bounced back and we have to keep it like this."
Mane also took the time to thank the Liverpool fans for their support following his AFCON heartbreak with Senegal.
"I want to thank all the supporters for what they have done for me," he added.
"I was very happy to hear that [reception] when I came off against Tottenham. Having that support means so much. It has really lifted me since I came back.
"They give the team so much. I know that sometimes it hasn't been easy for them but they are always behind us and always pushing us. We try to give our best for them."
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