Jurgen Klopp could repeat Sadio Mane’s trick with Liverpool’s ‘versatile’ new signing – ORA SPORT MANING

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Jurgen Klopp has transformed Sadio Mane from raw talent into a world-class star over the Senegalese forward's six years at Anfield - he can now look to do the same with Liverpool's latest signing

It remains to be seen how Liverpool will cope without Sadio Mane next season, but having apparently signed his heir apparent this summer, the future bodes well.

The Senegalese star has been an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s cause since he signed in the summer of 2016, so it won’t be a surprise to see Liverpool suffer a little in his absence next season. The Reds have recruited the revered Darwin Nunez as their replacement, but while the Uruguayan will undoubtedly score plenty of goals, he won’t be able to match Mané for his versatility. Very few in world football can.

But there is potential in the pipeline at Anfield. Liverpool finished what they started in January, finally concluding a deal for Fulham’s highly-rated Fabio Carvalho, and it already appears that Klopp has identified the talented teenager as Mane’s long-term successor.

Just a year after arriving at Anfield, Klopp moved on to sign Mane – a gruff and unrefined 24-year-old striker who spent most of his stint at Southampton supporting Graziano Pelle as a second striker. Over time, the Reds boss put the former Red Bull Salzburg player in all sorts of positions as the player’s versatility was exploited.

At first, Mane was used on the right, but when Mohamed Salah arrived a year later, he voluntarily shifted to the left to accommodate the left-handed Egyptian, whose preference was – and still is – to cut along the wing of his disadvantaged foot. In the season that ended, following the acquisition of Colombian winger Luis Diaz in January, Mane took on a central role, later thriving when called out as a false nine.


The Senegalese playmaker’s remarkable malleability has made him an invaluable asset for Liverpool’s attack. While it is highly unlikely that Carvalho’s new signings will immediately fill Mane’s spot at that level, if Klopp’s recent comments are valid, it seems feasible that he could do so in the future.

“Fabio, wow, what a season he played with Fulham,” Klopp declared when speaking to the Reds’ official website. “When we watched him, it was a pure joy to see him, absolutely.


“He can play so many different positions for us, the way we play. Right now, he’s not really set in one position – it’s the winger, it’s the eight, it’s the 10, it’s the false nine if he grows some more muscle.

“It’s a short-term and long-term project; he can start tomorrow and he needs to adapt, you can see that a little bit, but when he has the ball, it’s the proper quality. I’m over the moon he’s here. Fantastic perspective.”

In Carvalho, Klopp may have indeed unearthed the star of his next big project. The 19-year-old arrives at Anfield as an emerging attacking talent, just as Mané did six summers ago.

In fact, the Portugal Under-21 international appears to have more experience playing in different roles at this stage of his rising career than the Senegalese top scorer when he arrived at Anfield. Early indications are that Klopp will try to repeat his trick using the player’s versatility to turn him into one of football’s most adaptable attacking threats, à la Mane.

Of course, these are the embryonic stages of Carvalho’s career, but there’s no denying that the signs are promising. And if anyone knows how to turn raw talent into a world-class superstar, it’s Klopp.

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