It isn’t often that Jurgen Klopp makes an error of judgement, but Liverpool’s manager has admitted he had the wrong first impression of a player that is now a current Reds sensation.
“I remember my first encounter with Sadio (Mane). It was in Dortmund,” Klopp said on the Made in Senegal documentary, and reported by the Daily Mirror.
“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.’
“[…] I’d say I have a pretty good feeling for people, but was I wrong. I followed his further career and continuing success in Salzburg. In Southampton, he just dominated.”
The striker dominated to such an extent, that it left Klopp with no option but to want to sign him, and Mane has gone on to become a pivotal part of Liverpool’s three-pronged attack, alongside Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah.
It just goes to show that even the very best get it wrong sometimes, and Klopp surely wouldn’t be without the Senegalese now. Mane has developed into one of the Premier League’s most potent attackers, offering goals, assists and incredible pace which is a nightmare for opposition defences to deal with.
Signed for £34m in 2016, Mane is arguably worth at least double that in the current market, though Klopp would probably consider him priceless. And at 27 years of age, the striker is likely to still have his best years ahead of him.