Liverpool pulled a string of surprise in the summer of 2016 when they completed a £34m move for Sadio Mane from Southampton.
As at that time, the Senegalese wasn’t known to many fans and that led to much criticism from pundits and fans, who couldn’t imagine Klopp spraying such huge fee on him.
Some fans even went further to compare him with former Borussia Dortmund striker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who United bought at the same time for just £27m.
To many, the Armenia forward is a complete striker whom the Reds should have gone for, rather than “wasting” huge money on the Senegalese signature.
Having seen the reaction from Liverpool fans towards his move to the Anfield stadium, Mane knew he needs to go extra miles to justify Klopp’s trust in him.
How has it been for Mane: good or bad?
Since his debut game in 2016, Sadio Mane hasn’t looked back in his mission to prove doubters wrong.
He has progressed from being the fringe part player he was in his early days at Anfield, to an integral part of the team.
His attacking prowess could be classified among the best in the League. His goals and assists played a major role in the club’s impressive run to last season’s Champions League final match, which they lost to 3-1 to Real Madrid no thanks to Karius unforgettable errors.
Having spent two seasons at the Merseyside club, Mane has played 67 Premier League games, scoring 29 goals in the process.
In European competitions, the Senegalese has featured in 17 games for the Reds and he’s scored 11 goals so far.
The player, who was largely criticized by many football lovers across the world, gradually found his way into the hearts of football followers— especially Liverpool supporters — as he’s currently one of the most loved players at Anfield.
Mane vs Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Comparing him to Mkhitaryan, whom many wanted to see at Anfield some seasons ago, it is safe to say that the Senegalese is no longer in the same category with the Gunners star.
During Mkhitaryan’s time at Old Trafford, the player was involved in 39 League matches in which he recorded just five goals. In European competition, he played five matches where he found the back of the net on one occasion.
After some uninspiring displays, he was made a sacrificial lamb to Alexis Sanchez’s signature as Mourinho offered him as a makeshift for the Chilean move from Arsenal.
The player moved to the Emirates Stadium while Sanchez joined the Red Devils in a swap deal.
At the Emirates Stadium, Mkhitaryan has played 20 games, scoring five goals.
In the past two seasons, the Armenian played 64 matches in all competitions with just 11 goals to show for it. Compared to Mane who played 84 matches with 40 goals to show.
It is obvious the African star has proven his worth as one of the best strikers in the world. He has equally made all his critics eat their words.
With new five years deal already sealed, Mane will surely go on to become one of Liverpool’s most lethal striker of all time, should he continue with his dedicated, hardworking and brilliant performance for the Reds.