As the effect of the Premier League’s improved television deal on transfers this summer became clear, with fees seeming to rise by the week, it didn’t take long for the £34M Liverpool paid to bring 24-year-old attacker Sadio Mané from St. Mary’s to Anfield to start to look quite entirely reasonable.
Then, Mané added a few stellar pre-season performances, with many fans identifying the Senegal international as Liverpool’s top performer in pre-season. After that, some began to think £34M might even end up looking a bargain. Then, he dominated in his full Liverpool debut against Arsenal.
“I’m very happy to be here,” said Mané when asked about settling in and already impressing fans and the coaching staff at his new club. “I’m pleased because everything is going well. There’s a very good team spirit and the coach is trying to help us give our best. I think this is important.”
That happiness, especially with his new manager, resulted in one of the most unexpected and amazing goal celebrations in recent memory after Mané scored Liverpool’s fourth against Arsenal—then ran to get a piggyback ride from Jürgen Klopp, who minutes earlier had been giving him tactical advice.
It was a brilliant moment, even if it may have led to Liverpool letting their foot off the gas thinking the game was won and giving Arsenal the chance to fight their way back into it. Now, Mané will be looking to use the depth and competition for places at his new club push him on to even better.
“I’m close with everyone,” Mané added. “I’m just trying to give what I can. I’m impressed because we have a great team with big quality. Now we have to do it as a team. We have great quality in the team. If you have very good players in the team then it’s good for everybody.
“The competition, it’s normal, you have to do it and we try to help each other—it’s normal and makes the team stronger. Everybody enjoys it; everybody’s happy with it. I think everything will be good for us.”