Former Arsenal player Paul Merson has criticised Liverpool for selling Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, and predicted whether Jurgen Klopp’s side will make the top four.
Mane hit 120 goals in 269 matches for Liverpool after joining from Southampton in summer 2016. His great form in front of goal helped Liverpool win some massive trophies, including the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup.
The forward formed a great relationship with fellow attackers Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino. He also showed his versatility by scoring goals from right wing, left wing and centre-forward as other stars came into the team.
Mane left Anfield earlier this summer when Bayern came in for him. The reigning Bundesliga champions picked Mane up for an initial £27.4m. The deal will likely rise to £35m through add-ons.
Liverpool wanted to charge Bayern more for the 30-year-old but had their bargaining position weakened by his contract situation. Mane’s terms were due to expire in June 2023.
Plus, the Senegalese was pushing to make the switch to Bavaria as part of a new challenge in his illustrious career.
Mane has got off to a great start in Germany, scoring four goals in as many games for Bayern so far this season. This includes a brace in the recent 7-0 thrashing of VfL Bochum in the league.
Liverpool, in contrast, are struggling. They have failed to win their first three league matches. This includes draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace, as well as a 2-1 defeat to rivals Manchester United.
The Reds have brought in Luis Diaz to replace Mane on the left wing. But he is yet to show the same goalscoring ability as his predecessor.
Paul Merson criticises Sadio Mane decision
During an appearance on Sky Sports, Merson blasted Liverpool for letting Mane go for just £30m. He even called it the ‘worst bit of [transfer] business I’ve ever seen’.
“No one’s got started yet for Liverpool, no one’s playing well,” Merson said (via Metro).
“With Sadio Mane, I thought it was the worst bit of business I’ve ever seen in football for a long, long time. It was one of the worst I’ve ever seen.
“£30m for a big-game player. If I’m the owner of the club, I want to win the league and you keep Mane to give yourself the best chance of that.
“Let him go for free next summer, he’s done enough for the club and it’s only £30m. I think that’s come back to bite them.”
Despite the criticism surrounding Mane, Merson still thinks Liverpool have enough firepower to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“They haven’t got started but I wouldn’t be worried yet. I’d be amazed if they finished outside the top four,” he added.
Losing Mane is clearly huge for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool. He is hugely influential on the pitch and would have been a big voice in the dressing room, too.
But there is cause for optimism at Anfield. They have had lots of injuries towards the start of the season, in addition to Darwin Nunez’s suspension.
Once Nunez and some of the injured players return, Liverpool will have a much better chance of climbing the table and getting towards the top.
Plus, Klopp says club chiefs have changed their minds and are now looking to sign a new player to bolster the midfield.
Meanwhile, Patrick Vieira has put a Liverpool man in a list of his three favourite Premier League midfielders.
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