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Liverpool simply cannot count on Luis Diaz to replace Sadio Mané anymore, Reds need a new plan

Liverpool cannot count on Luis Diaz to replace Sadio Mané next season – no matter how good he is. The Reds need a new plan.

It certainly seems that Sadio Mané will leave Liverpool this summer. On the one hand, that’s a big shock – Mané has been a key player for years now and it’s a long time since the Reds lost someone so vital. This one will hurt.

On the other hand, Liverpool may have seen in coming. Mané’s deal expires in 2023 and there was always very little talk of a new contract. Given he’s now 30, the club may not have seen the same long-term value in a contract as the player likely does.

And that’s where Luis Diaz comes in. Liverpool signed the Colombian right at the end of the transfer window in a deal that wasn’t planned. Per Sky Sports, Diaz was a summer target but Tottenham Hotspur’s interest forced the Reds into an early transfer.

Put two and two together and it seems that Diaz was a potential Mané replacement – he just joined while the Senegal star was still at Anfield. Both are left-wingers and that makes the former Porto man a natural successor.

Or at least, it did. Things have changed since that requires plans to be altered.

Luis Diaz can’t replace Sadio Mané

Diaz looks set to be Liverpool’s long-term starter on the left-wing. He’s been fantastic ever since arriving, with Jurgen Klopp saying it’s ‘crazy’ how quickly he got going in Red.

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The problem is that Liverpool don’t need to replace Mané on the left – they need to replace him in the middle. He’s switched to a central role post-Africa Cup of Nations to incredible effect. The team’s upturn in form that led to the Quadruple charge came from that switch.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

We have Mané’s form since the switch down as the best of his career. He offers incredible pace in behind, goalscoring, pressing, an ability to drop into midfield and just about everything else you want from the False 9 role.

Liverpool need to find a replacement through the middle, then, as Roberto Firmino also enters the final year of his contract. The squad will lack a world-class False 9 at this rate, meaning Diaz cannot be Mané’s replacement.

There needs to be a new plan this summer.

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