Liverpool defender Joe Gomez believes the return of Sadio Mane offers a huge psychological boost as they aim to complete their unbeaten season.
The Reds have one hand on the Premier League trophy after Mane came off the bench to score a superb winner against Norwich on Saturday.
Mane was a doubt for the game with a knock and was not risked from the start by Jurgen Klopp.
But he delivered when it mattered to give the Reds their 17th straight top-flight win.
Attentions now turn to their trip to the Wanda Metropolitano – the scene of their Champions League triumph in June – to take on Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
And Gomez heaped praise on Mane, hailing the psychological impact his inclusion has on their side.
“What a player he is; he gives you a boost of confidence when he’s coming on and psychologically for another team it’s not nice,” said Gomez.
“He’s massive and he’s popped up for us in so many moments this year and done it yet again.
“All the different ways and different forms of goals, it shows his quality and we were lucky to have him come off the bench but obviously that was due to his injury.”
After a stunning run of form, Gomez knows they must now capitalise as they chase a first top-flight title since 1990 as well as hunting FA Cup and Champions League glory.
“We’ve had the winter break and now it’s down the home stretch,” Gomez told Liverpool’s official club website.
“We know how important this run of games is as it’s an intense period of the season and it’s crunch time really.
“It’s the most important part and you just build the foundation from the start of the season to this period here.
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