John Aldridge has revealed his opinion that Sadio Mane is ‘generating a similar kind of buzz’ to Liverpool great John Barnes in 1987.
Barnes joined the Reds from Watford and went on to score 84 goals in 314 league appearances for the club in a spell that spanned a decade.
Aldridge joined the English giants the same year, and has recalled the atmosphere ahead of Barnes’ debut at Anfield and believes that it’s being replicated by Mane almost three decades later.
As reported by BBC Sport, the 24-year-old joined Liverpool in a deal worth £34m and penned a five-year deal. Having been made to wait for his home debut due to reconstruction work at Anfield, he will undoubtedly be relishing his chance to shine in front of the Kop.
Aldridge is as excited as any other Liverpool fan ahead of his home debut and hopes that he can go on to make a significant impact having already impressed during his time with Southampton.
“I hate comparing players, but the situation around Mane is very similar to when John Barnes arrived at Anfield in 1987,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Sadio Mane is the new John Barnes, but he is generating a similar kind of buzz.
“Liverpool fans can’t wait to get their first glimpse of him at Anfield, just like in 1987 when John Barnes was signed.
“In just three games this season Sadio Mane has already become a key player. Just how important was underlined when he suffered a slight injury scare on international duty with Senegal this week. The Reds fan base went into temporary panic until the rumours were dispelled.
“He has already made a major impact amongst Reds fans and if he can go on to become half as influential as John Barnes was we’ll all be delighted.”
Mane scored on his debut in the 4-3 win over Arsenal on the opening day of the season, adding to the 21 goals in 67 Premier League outings for the Saints prior to his summer move.
With Jurgen Klopp evidently set to give him a major role this season, he’ll hope to continue to make a decisive impact, and that bid continues against Leicester City this weekend with the champions hoping to come away with something to show for their efforts in what will undoubtedly be a passionate and noisy Anfield atmosphere.