Sadio Mane has been an inspirational signing by Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.
A few eyebrows were raised when the Reds splashed a cool £36m to bring the Senegalese forward to Anfield from Southampton in 2016.
Mane had dazzled at times on the south coast, but there were still fears that he lacked the consistency to thrive at one of England’s top sides.
How wrong all the doubters were. In the past four years or so, Mane has been one of the Premier League’s top performers and he’s Liverpool’s most important attacker.
Mohamed Salah may score more goals and the system is apparently reliant on Roberto Firmino, but without Mane, Liverpool are distinctly placid in attack.
However, the Senegalese’s move to Liverpool may never have happened had he not made a stellar second impression on Klopp.
The German manager has detailed his first meeting with Mane in the attacker’s new documentary ‘Made in Senegal’ and it’s safe to say it was not a very good one.
Klopp said, per Daily Mail: “I remember my first encounter with Sadio. It was in Dortmund. There was a really young guy sitting there. His baseball cap was askew, the blond streak he still has today.
“He looked like a rapper just starting out. I thought, ‘I don’t have time for this’. Our team back then really wasn’t bad. I needed someone who could handle not being a starter at the very beginning, someone I could develop.
“I’d say I have a pretty good feeling for people, but was I wrong! I followed his further career and continued success at Salzburg. In Southampton he just dominated.”
Klopp details that a brace from Mane against Liverpool during his Southampton days prompted the German to splash the cash.
But somewhere, in a parallel universe, Klopp is pounding his desk in frustration as the guy he thought was a rapper stars for another team.
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