Jurgen Klopp has claimed that former Liverpool star Sadio Mane could continue to play for another decade.
Klopp made the claim about Mane whilst speaking to Viaplay Football from Liverpool’s training camp in Austria.
“I couldn’t have more respect for Sadio, what a player he is, I wish him the best,” said the 55-year-old. “He will play for ages, he will play until 38, 39, with his body it’s absolutely crazy. Bayern got a really good player but we had him for six years so that’s fine.”
If Mane does go on to play for such a long time, Liverpool could well come to regret not pushing harder to keep him.
Time will tell whether Mane can still deliver
With the physical shape that Mane’s in, it’s conceivable that he could play on towards his 40th birthday. Footballers are retiring later and later, and given his excellent injury record, chances are he could be another Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
But nothing is guaranteed in football. Just because Mane’s in brilliant condition, that doesn’t mean he’ll still be able to cut it at the top level in seven or eight years.
Over the last 18 months of his Liverpool career, there were alarming signs that he was in a sharp decline. The 30-year-old clawed some of that back over the last six months, but that was the exception to the rule of the previous season-and-a-half.
It will be interesting to watch him in Munich. At his best, Mane was without doubt one of the best players on the planet. For a time, he was arguably Liverpool’s best player in a team that also contained peak Virgil Van Dijk and Mohamed Salah’s.
That seems a little time ago now, though. Whether or not the Senegal legend is still the player he once was is very much a question that is yet to be answered.
There’s relatively big pressure on Mane to deliver goals after Robert Lewandowski left for Barcelona. He’s started off well in that respect with one goal in one game.
Without the presence of someone like Salah to share the burden, maybe we’ll get a truer glimpse of the level he’s currently at.
Liverpool could yet regret letting Mane go whilst still at his peak. But the signs of recent seasons suggest that that peak has already passed.