Matthew Sinton discusses how Sadio Mané could be in for a more creative role this season if Liverpool don’t end up signing Lyon’s Nabil Fekir.
With the transfer window shutting in just twelve days for Premier League clubs, time is running out for Liverpool to sign Nabil Fekir or a suitable alternative for that creative midfield role.
It’s looking increasingly likely that we will begin the season without a direct replacement for Philippe Coutinho. Could Sadio Mané be in for more than just a shirt change?
The creative side of Mané’s game became much more noticeable towards the end of last season. This was something he had not necessarily had to showcase for the majority of his Liverpool career.
Along with the extent of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s knee injury, this could have given Klopp a view of a potential deeper role for our new number 10 in the coming season.
How quickly Sadio could adapt to this role, however, may depend on how long it takes Xherdan Shaqiri to find his feet at the club. We aren’t exactly stacked in terms of wingers at the moment, so it may initially be a Fabinho, Keïta and Henderson midfield three (or Milner/Wijnaldum in there somewhere).
Shaqiri is naturally a right winger, though, so a change of formation may be more likely to avoid him playing on the wrong side. The 4-2-3-1 we saw regularly in Klopp’s first season is a possibility as is the 4-4-2 used at times last season.
With Daniel Sturridge set to stay at the club, there have been hints during pre-season that he may also play a deeper, more creative role this season.
All things considered, there are a number of interesting ways the Reds could line up that we would never have expected just months ago.
Whatever this season holds for Mané and Sturridge, I’m interested to see how Klopp utilises the pair to make up for the absence of Fekir in the squad (unless we do manage to pull it off and sign him in the next two weeks – with Edwards in charge of negotiations you never know!).
We’ve seen Milner at left back and even Wijnaldum at centre back before, so let’s see what the boss has up his sleeve this time.