Jurgen Klopp could’ve made a summer move for Henrikh Mkhitaryan but opted to go for Sadio Mane instead, and his decision is paying off.
Last season, there was an undeniable lack of real speed in Liverpool’s team. This was corrected in the summer with the signing of Sadio Mane from Southampton for £36 million.
While many may have criticised the move, the Senegal international has consistently proven that he is Liverpool’s answer in attacking areas. The introduction of Mane into the starting eleven has done a lot to help Liverpool’s other attackers.
In years gone by, Coutinho has found himself carrying the bulk of the burden that is being Liverpool’s star player. By signing Mane, Klopp has made sure that the responsibility of scoring and assisting goals is now shared out amongst the forward line. With Firmino proving once again how good he can be, there are goals galore from the Reds’ front three.
Manchester United signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan for a fee in the region of £27 million, but the Armenian has failed to impose himself on the Premier League for a number of reasons. With the former Dortmund attacker struggling for fitness and unlikely to supplant United’s £89 million signing Paul Pogba, there is a serious amount of doubt surrounding Mkhitaryan’s suitability for the Manchester club.
When United signed Mkhitaryan for just under £30 million, there were plenty jokes made about the fact that Liverpool forked out nearly £40 million for yet another Southampton player, and yet, this former Saints player is tearing the Premier League apart.
With three goals and an assist in six league games, Mane is by and by the most impressive signing from 2016’s summer transfer window.
From Liverpool supporters and opposition fans alike, Klopp was mocked for signing Mane instead of Mkhitaryan. According to an interview that Ilkay Gundogan had with Manchester Evening News, the Armenian attacker tends to struggle when moving to a new league.
“Henrikh has been at Dortmund for three years. The first two years were not so easy for him, to be honest,” Gundogan said in July just after his move to rivals Manchester City.
With Mkhitaryan struggling to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League and battling with a thigh injury, Mane seems to have eclipsed the former Dortmund man even though he doesn’t have the track record Mkhitaryan does.
Liverpool hosts Manchester United in a Monday Night Football clash at Anfield next week and there is every indication that the game will be as good as any of the fixtures we’ve seen between the two in recent years.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are clicking into gear and look as if they can beat anyone. Jose Mourinho, despite his abominable arrogance, will be cautious of a Liverpool side that is capable of blitzing a team in half an hour as shown against Arsenal on opening day.
Going into the game, Liverpool is fourth while United is sixth. A win for the Merseysiders and it will condemn Mourinho and his men to a battle to catch up with the league leaders.
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