Sadio Mané wasn’t Jürgen Klopp’s first Liverpool signing, but he was his first for big money, his arrival in Klopp’s first summer in charge at Anfield setting a record as Mané became, for a time, the most expensive African player.
He’s more than proven his star qualities since, making more than 100 appearances now for the Reds and scoring 54 goals in all competitions, but he hasn’t reached his goal yet—and his goal is to become a legend.
“I want to be a legend not only for Liverpool but also in the Premier League,” Mané said when asked about what he hopes to achieve in the game. “That is one of my targets. I will do everything possible to achieve everything possible.
“Reaching 100 games meant a lot to me. To play this many games for a club like Liverpool is incredible. Every single day I am enjoying being here and trying to do everything to win something for this club.”
Nobody who has watched Liverpool this season would doubt that, and at times when the team hasn’t been at its best it has always seemingly been Mané who steps up, puts the team on his back, and pushes them over the line.
Virgil van Dijk may be the cornerstone of the defence and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino may get more press amongst the attackers, but time and again this season it has been Mané who has scored the key goals.
If now they do now win something—and perhaps even two very big somethings—nobody will have done more to be thought of as a club legend for their role in it than him. But, even managing that, Mané would still want more.
More with Liverpool, more in the Premier League, and more under Klopp, who Mané—along with pretty much every other Liverpool player, to hear him tell it—has a special bond with and wants to keep playing for for a long time.
“He loves all his players and is very close to his players,” Mané said. “He demands a lot but he never puts pressure on us other than asking the best of us. He only asks you to do your best in whatever you are doing and also to enjoy it.
“I think that’s important because, under him, everybody has progressed a lot as everyone can see. It’s very important for us to work with him for more years.”