All of the moaning this summer from certain corners about Liverpool giving Southampton another £30million to bring in Sadio Mané over German World Cup hero and Borussia Dortmund star Mario Götze came to an abrupt silence in one moment in the first match of the season against Arsenal. The winger, in his Liverpool debut, scored a screamer of a goal that earned the team a rare victory at the Emirates to start their league campaign.
In the four months that followed, Mané showed exactly what Klopp saw in him, as he’s elevated Liverpool’s attack, becoming the team’s joint top scorer and quickly developing a good partnership with Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino up front. His playful and friendly personality has also helped his growing popularity among the Liverpool faithful, best seen in the clips that have gone viral of Mané mimicking his teammates’ goal celebrations.
As Mané’s African Cup of Nations sabbatical approaches, Klopp was asked about how the player has been so successful in the first season with the team.
“The quality of the player, the character of the team,” the manager answered. “They had really open arms for him from the first second they heard we were signing Sadio Mané. They were like 'Oh! Okay!' That helps.
“They were brilliant with him. The club, the atmosphere… That stuff helps, and a little bit of luck. It worked out that he scored in his first game with a goal like this (against Arsenal). Come on! In a game like this, it makes everything easier.
“Then there is his attitude. He is a really hard working boy. He is really open for advice. He wants each kind of improvement. He wants to do different things. He is good. He’s really good.
“The best news for me was that I could sign him. It was a mistake not to get him for Dortmund. The fact that I could get him a second time was good, really good.”
On Monday, Mané gets his first crack at the Merseyside derby, a fixture where legends have been created, to try and make his great start of the season even greater.