3 Sept 2016

Ex-Red raves: £125k-a-week attacker can be a 'superstar' signing for Liverpool. Thierry Henry agrees

Who is Jurgen Klopp's best signing of the summer? Ask any Liverpool fan, and the answer will invariably be Sadio Mane, and according to ex-Red Danny Murphy, the £34m attacker could be one of the stars of the season.

Speaking to the BBC on Friday, Murphy hailed Mane as 'fantastic', and further raved:

"I'm really excited by Mane. He's not going to be scared of the pressure of playing for LFC...and I think he could be a superstar for Liverpool this season."

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry shares Murphy's enthusiasm, and when asked last month who he thinks will light up the Premier League this season, he Sky Sports:

"There's the usual suspects like Zlatan and Pogba, but the outsider for me is Sadio Mane. I think he could have a very good season and be a crowd favourite".

There's no denying that he is a potentially exciting player, and like Henry, I'm interested to see how he performs in Klopp's system. However, I still can't shake the nagging doubt that Mane will struggle for consistency at Anfield, and the following performance issues at Southampton form the basis of my concern:

* 2014-15: Failed to create a single goal for 5 months (Dec 28th 2014 till the end of the season). History repeated itself the following season.

* 2015-16: Failed to create a single goal for 5 months (Dec 28th 2015 till the end of the season).

* 2015-16: Failed to score in 16 games in a row (Dec 5th to Mar 12).

* 2015-16: Not in the Premier League's top 20 for assists or key passes.

Many fans will choose to ignore these facts (I wish I could do the same), but going five months without an assist in two consecutive seasons is a huge concern. If Liverpool are to have any chance of challenging for the top four this season, Mane needs to break this particular negative trend, and start contributing in the second half of the season.

Can he do it? Fingers crossed.

^ Reportedly on £125k-a-week.


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