Here are three ways Liverpool can replace Sadio Mané without signing anyone. The no.10 is expected to depart this summer.
It certainly appears that Liverpool will sell Sadio Mané to Bayern Munich this summer. That’s certainly what Bild believe as the Senegal star enters the final year of his contract.
That creates a massive problem for the Reds, of course. Mané has been electric this season, putting in some of the finest performances of his career. How do you replace that? Well, we hope it means Liverpool go out and sign someone to fill the void.
But that isn’t to say that a signing is 100% necessary. Liverpool have enough talent to replace Mane internally – and here are three ways they could do that.
How Liverpool can replace Sadio Mané
Diogo Jota’s big pre-season
We expect Liverpool will provide a bigger role for Diogo Jota next season. He was fantastic across the 2021/22 campaign before New Year and while he found his role a little shrunken in 2022, Jota is set for big things.
Signed as a winger, Jota moved into a central striking role to give Liverpool a wonderful goal-scoring option. He just has one major problem – the Portugal star isn’t great at the ‘False 9’ part of it. Jota will score goals, lead the line and offer a threat – and he’s ‘brilliant’ at it all – but he’s not a perfect player at dropping deep and linking play.
That’s part of the reason Mané played centrally post-AFCON – he does it better. And so we expect Liverpool will develop Jota more over pre-season and attempt to perfect him in that False 9 role. Luis Diaz has the left-wing sewn-up, after all, and Liverpool’s no.20 can instead focus his efforts centrally.
But that means a big pre-season of developing the instincts properly.
Liverpool’s forward line after Mané is already taking shape with Jota and Diaz. However, both players are a little more forward-thinking than Mané. They each want to get the ball and move forward immediately, whereas the no.10 is a little more eager to slow play down and drop deep.
Thus Liverpool may need to shake-up their style. That could see more licence to attack and move forward from midfield, allowing Jota and Diaz to focus on their direct running towards goal. They wouldn’t need to be that link to midfield if the midfield is already trying to push forward and link themselves.
And we think Liverpool are already preparing for this. Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and the incoming Fabio Carvalho are all attacking midfielders who play a style that the Reds simply haven’t used over the last few years.
Developing that trio as the new playmakers could replace a lot of what Mané brings – while also allowing Jota and Diaz to focus on what makes them great.
All-in on Roberto Firmino
Liverpool could replace Sadio Mané with a player who arrived before him. Roberto Firmino had an injury-stricken season but he could return to his best next year to get his place back.
Because truth be told, there is no better False 9 than Firmino. He’s absolutely sensational at the role and his selfless style could work wonders for Jota, Diaz and Mohamed Salah in 2022/23. All three of those players want space to drive at goal, they want to be the goal-threat and they want to focus their thoughts on running in behind.
Firmino is one of the best in the world at pulling defenders away for teammates, finding the right passes and creating spaces for other attackers. Mané and Salah benefitted for years and Liverpool could call on their Brazilian once again next season.
It just relies on him being fit. It’s a big ask but if Firmino can recapture consistency, he will replace Mané’s vital central role. Liverpool might just need to gamble.