Thierry Henry was a truly delightful and graceful player to watch who terrorised Premier League defences for eight straight seasons in Arsenal colours, scoring 174 goals and 79 assists in the process over 254 league games. Interestingly and unsurprisingly given his considerable talents, he holds the assist record for a single Premier League campaign with 20 in 2002/03. In his capacity as a Sky Sports pundit, he picked Liverpool's Sadio Mané as his player to watch this season.
There's the usual suspects like Zlatan and Pogba - but the outsider for me who I think will have a good season is Sadio Mané at Liverpool. I want to see how he is going to do and with the way Liverpool play I think he could have a very good season and be a crowd favourite.
The Senegalese international has probably been Liverpool's standout player in pre-season, providing Liverpool with pace and an edge that was sometimes lacking last season. Although Mané is a wonderful athlete with impressive movement and finishing, he showed a willingness to be part of build-up play as well as burst forward into space. Henry isn't one to pick out average attacking players and has grown in his role as a pundit in 2016. But for Mané, Liverpool's season isn't about individuals.
"I'm happy when I'm helping the team, not only on the right. I can also play on the left, or the number 10 or as a striker, but that doesn't matter to me," the 24-year-old former Southampton star said. "I'm here for the team, I'll be here for the team always. For me, where I play isn't important. What's important is the team. Hopefully we're going to be successful.
"If you want to win, you have to defend as a team and we press high. I think that’s the key to our success, we’ll keep doing it. If you defend as a team first, then it’s easy to attack. If you’re going forward it’s always easy! If you defend as a team, it’s easy to attack as a team. It’s clear for everyone, every striker, that you have to defend as well. I’m happy with that and I try to do it."
Individual brilliance combined with a work ethic and focus on the team should help Liverpool's number 19 to have a fantastic season. Jürgen Klopp had plenty of time to assess what Liverpool needed last season and brought in Mané to sharpen Liverpool's attacking sword, and just ahead of the new season, Thierry Henry—Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer and arguably the Premier League's greatest player—understands what Liverpool fans have been seeing over the course of the summer: a talented and reliable attacking player.
Mané scored 15 goals in all competitions last season but says his goal is to score even more in Liverpool colours this season. If that happens, becoming a crowd favourite will be inevitable. Hopefully his journey begins in a hail of goals helping Liverpool to victory against Henry's old side, Arsenal, in the the first game of the season on Sunday.