Is this a bombshell or have I been remiss in my studies of all things Sadio Mané and Naby Keita? A friendship? No, sorry. A brotherhood. The two football stars and soon to be co-propellents of the Liverpool train to glory, were teammates once before at Red Bull Salzburg in 2014. Keita, who was interviewed by Melissa Reddy for Goal.com, revealed his special relationship with Mané and what Liverpool’s powerful forward has meant to his life and career.
“At first, I wasn’t starting and it was very frustrating,” said Keita.
“I didn’t like it and it made the settling-in period harder. But Sadio said, ‘My little brother, stay calm. Your chance will come and when it does, you will make the most of it.’
“He helped me with everything. The language, making friends, understanding the club and the city.
“And, of course, he was right. Once I was put into the team I showed my qualities and everything went much smoother.
“Salzburg improved me as a player and I learnt so much there. I got a really tactical education.
“Sadio was important to me. He still is. To me, he’s my big brother. He really likes to learn new things, to improve and to push himself and we are the same in this way.
“He’s a good example for me.”
Am I even more excited for Naby Keita to arrive at Liverpool from RB Leipzig next summer? Yes. Do I love Sadio Mané even more now, despite that seeming impossible just moments ago? Yes.
Keita’s relationship with Mané will obviously be a boon for Liverpool when the Guinean midfielder finally arrives on Merseyside. Settle into the city, settle into the team. Harness that brotherhood power on the pitch. And when they ask how Liverpool managed to win the league for the next decade, we’ll say they did it with friendship.