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Sadio Mane names controversial ex-Liverpool player as boyhood hero

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Sadio Mane has arguably been one of Jurgen Klopp's most successful signings since becoming Liverpool manager.

The former Southampton star has produced 14 goals and eight assists in a Liverpool shirt, with the first of those goals coming against Arsenal 12 months ago.

"I remember this game," he told the Daily Mail.

"I remember having this high energy when I got the ball on the wing. I saw the defender (Calum Chambers) coming to me so I tried to slow down. Why? I knew I could go quicker than him. No problem.

"So when he thought I was slowing down, I let him come. Within one metre? That was it. I left him back. I stopped running a little bit and then (darts his hand) . . . I go! One metre for me to go quick, then he has no chance to stop me."

It was the perfect start to his career on Merseyside and the perfect way to become an instant hero with his new supporters.

A few frustrating injuries aside, the 25-year-old has gone from strength to strength and, providing he does stay fit this term, will almost certainly be a thorn in many Premier League defences in the coming months.

Although Mane is well-loved at Anfield, some fans will not be very impressed by his choice of 'hero'.

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El Hadji Diouf spent three fairly controversial years at Merseyside between 2002-05 but it has been his comments since leaving the club have made him public enemy No.1 in Liverpool.

The former Senegalese forward has spoken very negatively about his Reds' spell and has got into public spats with fan favourites Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher too.

Nevertheless to Mane, Diouf can do no wrong.

"He was the first player I loved to watch and I remember the game against France [at the 2002 World Cup] when we won, leaving school to watch in my friend's house," Mane added.

Blackburn Rovers' Senegal midfielder El

"El Hadji is a hero at home, I still see him when I go back. Here [a hero]? Maybe not so much!"

Liverpool fans are not going to like that - one bit.

Mane will be hoping he can win them back around with another fine performance this weekend.

Klopp's men take on Crystal Palace in their first game at home of the new campaign later today.

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