Sadio Mane may have joined Liverpool F.C. with a hefty price tag of £34 million but so far, the Senegalese winger has proved to be a shrewd acquisition for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.
As is often the case with footballers from Senegal, Mane begun his career with a French side, Metz, but failed to set the country’s Ligue 2 alight and his team were eventually relegated. As a result, the winger moved to Red Bull Salzburg in Austria and it was here that Mane begun to display his true quality with several explosive performances and numerous vital hat-tricks.
Mane was introduced to the big-time after forcing through a move to English Premier League side Southampton for £11.8 million and he would later attract the attention of one of the world’s biggest clubs, Liverpool. Mane had moments of inspiration at Southampton, scoring the league’s fastest ever hat-trick being a particular highlight, but the player lacked consistency and had a tendency to either be brilliant or absent.
The Reds weren’t perturbed however and in 2016, Mane joined several other Southampton alumni in the form of Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren by making the move to the hallowed turf of Anfield.
Mane started brightly at Liverpool, putting in some impressive performances during the club’s pre-season tour and this good form continued into the Premier League season with the winger seeming perfectly suited to Jurgen Klopp’s high-tempo, aggressive, attacking style of football. Making his competitive debut in a 4-3 win against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Sadio Mane set the tone for his Liverpool career by scoring a vital goal and had notched up six goals in ten league appearances by early November; an impressive rate by any player’s standards.
With Klopp utilising Mane as an out-and-out winger, rather than in a more central attacking midfield role as happened occasionally during his time with the Saints, Mane was given the freedom to burst forward and cut inside, using his pace to make devastating runs at the defences of the Premiere League. The man from Senegal has quickly forged a fruitful partnership with fellow Anfield creative forces Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho and works excellently with defender Nathaniel Clyne on Liverpool’s right hand side. Mane has also seemingly relished working with ex-Southampton teammate Lallana, with the duo proving to be a key factor in the Reds fantastic start to the 2016-2017 season.
Perhaps the most impressive development Mane has made since making the move to Liverpool however, has been his temperament and attitude. Throughout his career, Sadio Mane has been prone to lapses in discipline. In order to force a transfer from Salzburg to Southampton, the winger refused to train or play for the club and even after making the switch, Mane’s time at St. Mary’s saw fines for lateness. His move to Liverpool, however, seems to have calmed the player and brought a new sense of responsibility to Mane’s creative brilliance on the pitch.