Ismaila Sarr is a name that has emerged as one of Liverpool’s top transfer priorities this summer.
The Senegalese ace has received a large number of plaudits following a stellar inaugural season in the Premier League. A player of Sarr’s quality is just too good to be playing in the Championship next season and Liverpool could be the perfect solution for the player in the upcoming campaign.
Sarr himself has publically announced how any aspiring footballer would ‘love’ to represent Liverpool which is some calling card to the Reds that the young forward considers Anfield his prime destination next season.
Mane could play a role in potential Sarr deal
There have even been parallels with Sarr’s international teammate and compatriot Sadio Mane. Both players predominately are utilised as wide forwards and the attacking duo both were discovered at the Generation Foot academy.
Mane could prove influential in Liverpool striking a deal with Sarr as the pair are close friends both on and off the field.
Sarr even identifies the PFA Player of the Year nominee as his ‘idol’ following an interview earlier in the season.
“Sadio Mané is not only a Senegal teammate of mine but he is my inspiration and my idol,” he told Watford’s official website.
“I watch lots of videos of him to see how he does things like accelerating and dribbling, and for me he is the best player in the world. For sure, the best African player in Europe.”
Sarr may be doing a lot of talking about Liverpool off the pitch but he also demonstrated to Jurgen Klopp that he can back it up on the pitch as well following two stellar auditions against the Premier League champions.
It was indeed the 22-year-old who got the better of Mane and Liverpool during the 3-0 defeat back in February in what was Klopp’s first league defeat in 13 months.
Sarr scored twice and registered an assist during a MOTM performance that certainly clocked Klopp’s attention.
However, it is important to remember that match was an exception rather than the norm and his performance against Liverpool was the peak of an otherwise disappointing season in a collective sense.
The similarities between both Mane and Sarr are there to see yet both players endured glaringly different seasons with their respected clubs before moving to Liverpool.
Mane and Southampton were pushing for the Champions League in 2016 while Watford underperformed drastically last season and were relegated to the Championship.
It is also worth noting that Mane was two years older than Sarr when he joined Liverpool so it important to consider that the latter is still nowhere close to reaching his full potential.
Since signing for Liverpool four years ago, Mane has scored 81 goals and clocked up 28 assists in his 170 appearances for the Reds.
During his first season in England, Mane boasted very similar statistics to Sarr in terms of attacking output.
Despite bettering his younger compatriot in terms of goals with Mane scoring 10 times for Southampton in the 2014/15 season while Sarr managed five goals last campaign.
Sarr did better Mane by one assist it must be mentioned and his statistics in terms of dribble, shots and key passes per game (PG) are also of a similar trajectory.
In terms of key passes, Mane again came on top with an average 1.3 PG while Sarr just missed out with 0.9.
Mane also bettered Sarr in terms of shots PG with the former commanding an average of 2 whereas Sarr managed 1.6.
Klopp missed out on the chance to sign Mane during his time with Borussia Dortmund and this was before the Champions League-winning footballer was playing in England.
The German manager considered taking Mane – then at Red Bull Salzburg – to the Bundesliga in 2014 but opted out.
The fact that Sarr is performing at a similar rate to Mane suggests that Klopp may not allow lightning to strike twice and could be convinced on a statistical level that Sarr could be a long-term option in an attacking sense at Liverpool.
After all, as proved with Mane, when you put a player of such talent and potential in a state-of-the-art environment as well as a better team with a world-class coaching set up all of a sudden the dynamic could change and Sarr similarly to Mane could see his attacking output skyrocket in the coming years.
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