Liverpool are moving in the right direction under Jurgen Klopp, but he’ll be desperate to now keep his best players at the club moving forward.
The Reds secured another top-four finish in the Premier League while also making a run to the Champions League final last season as they edged agonisingly close to major honours.
A major part of that success was their impressive attacking play, as they bagged 84 goals in 38 league games last season, giving them the second most potent attack in the top flight behind champions Manchester City.
While Mohamed Salah took many of the plaudits and Roberto Firmino perhaps doesn’t get enough, Sadio Mane was crucial too as the 26-year-old contributed 20 goals and nine assists in 44 appearances.
Beyond the statistics though, the Senegal international’s pace, movement, creativity and eye for goal make him an integral part of the system and style of play that has been adopted at Liverpool under Klopp.
In turn, his form would naturally attract interest from outside the club, and he has directly addressed rumours linking him with a move to Real Madrid this summer.
“These are just rumours. I am not aware of anything and haven’t been contacted,” he is quoted as saying by The Express. “I remain a Liverpool player and I will join my team-mates in the United States for the pre-season tour.
“Real are a great team, but I am focused on my team, Liverpool.”
That sounds like Mane is committed to Liverpool and doesn’t have any intention of pursuing a move to the Spanish capital, but it remains to be seen how the situation would be effected if Los Blancos did make contact.
After seeing Philippe Coutinho leave for Barcelona in January, albeit they coped pretty well without him in the second half of last season, if Liverpool wish to take the next step and win major trophies, they surely need to avoid having to replace key players and instead focus on strengthening what they already have.
With that in mind, keeping Mane will be crucial as he, Salah and Firmino will look to repeat their impressive performances from last season in the upcoming campaign.