Insiders at Liverpool believe that Sadio Mane was the most important player at the club, before he was sold.
That’s according to a report from The Independent yesterday. They claim that some at Anfield believed Mane to be ‘the team’s best player’ ahead of Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah.
Despite that big-name pair having ‘dominated’ the era at Liverpool, insiders reportedly held Mane up as the best of the best.
Furthermore, there is said to be a feeling in the club that the Senegalese hasn’t been ‘adequately replaced.’ Mane left for Bayern Munich last summer after six years on Merseyside.
In his place came Benfica forward Darwin Nunez. After taking some time to get going, Darwin is settling in nicely at Liverpool. However, this reportedly hasn’t stopped ‘questions from growing’ over his suitability.
It’s claimed that these ‘insiders’ haven’t been convinced that the Uruguayan has the ‘talent ceiling’ of his predecessor, Mane.
Much ado about Mane
By now this has become a well-worn trope to explain away Liverpool’s poor season so far.
There is no doubt an element of truth to it. Mane was absolutely pivotal to everything the Reds won during his time at the club. He drove the team forward and was a big presence in the dressing room, too.
But there’s no way that Liverpool’s issues have arisen from moving him on. Had Mane still been at Anfield, he’d have surely been another victim of the malaise that set in after last season’s marathon campaign.
You only have to look at his patchy form for Bayern Munich to see that the 63-game slog affected him as well.
Had he been still at Liverpool, where things are feeling decidedly stale already, this would likely have been amplified. Besides, how can the Reds have made a ‘mistake’ in selling him, when Mane actively wanted to leave? There was no point standing in his way. Liverpool didn’t have a choice.
Either way, it was always going to be really tough to replace Mane. The 30-year-old is a modern day Liverpool legend. He gave everything every time he was on the pitch. But he’s gone now, and in truth, he had been struggling for the last two seasons. As good as the Senegal icon was, it’s time to let this one go.