John Aldridge has added his voice to the number of former players talking up Mane’s impressive start to life at Liverpool.
Danny Murphy and Thierry Henry have already spoken of how important the former Southampton player can be for Liverpool. The Reds have had a lack of real pace since Raheem Sterling scorched the sidelines in a red shirt, but Mane has been a real presence up front in the opening weeks of the season.
Despite a £36 million price tag, Mane’s start to the season has been mercurial. With a goal and two assists in his first three games, Liverpool’s new signing has done a lot to allay fears that the club spent too much on him.
John Aldridge, a Liverpool legend, has said that the buzz surrounding Mane reminds him of a certain John Barnes.
“He’s only played three matches, but the sense of excitement building around Sadio Mane is considerable – and it’s understandable,” the former Red writes in his Liverpool Echo column.
“He’s direct, he goes past players, he’s always looking to go forward – and as we’ve already seen he’s got an eye for a spectacular strike.
“I hate comparing players, but the situation around Mane is very similar to when John Barnes arrived at Anfield in 1987.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Sadio Mane is the new John Barnes, but he is generating a similar kind of buzz.
“Liverpool fans can’t wait to get their first glimpse of him at Anfield, just like in 1987 when John Barnes was signed.
“Just like this season, we had to play our first three matches away from home because of repair work that needed to be done on the Kop.
“Barnesy’s performances in those opening three games at Arsenal, Coventry and West Ham whetted the appetite for the home fans who couldn’t wait to see him in the flesh – and he was worth waiting for!
“In just three games this season Sadio Mane has already become a key player.
“He has already made a major impact amongst Reds fans, and if he can go on to become half as influential as John Barnes was we’ll all be delighted.”