LIVERPOOL star Sadio Mane admits his team-mates were in fits of laughter when Reds boss Jurgen Klopp asked him to play at striker against Watford.
Liverpool forward Mane has become one of the Premier League’s most electric wingers in recent years.
Lightning fast and a sharp eye for goal, he forms a key part of the Reds’ deadly trio along with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Usually plying his trade on the left-hand side, the Senegal international was given his chance to shine in the middle against Watford on Wednesday.
And the ex-Southampton man duly delivered, finding the net twice, including a sublime back heel that stole the headlines.
However, Mane admits Klopp’s call to play him in a more central role left him a little red-faced.
Instead of rushing to congratulate their team-mate on his new role, Mane says the Liverpool squad saw the funnier side of the decision.
But he didn’t mind too much, retorting that they’d have a new nickname for him by the end of the match.
“Honestly, I was surprised like you because I never played it (at striker) before,” Mane told Sky Sports.
“For me, it was a little bit strange.
“But one day before the game, the coach called me, he said ‘ok, we’re going to make some changes and Sadio you have to play number 9’.
“I looked at my team-mates, and we all looked like (pulled face of surprise), we all do this.
“I was laughing, and I said ‘ok my boss, listen; we are team so you have to trust me!’.
“Almost everybody was laughing at me and I said ‘from today, call me Ronaldo, Il Fenomono.’”
Liverpool take on bitter rivals Everton on Sunday in the Merseyside derby.
Kick off from Goodison Park will be at 4:15pm.