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Klopp hails Mane the Machine…and African fans agree

14:09 BST 16/04/2022
2018-09-29 Mane Klopp Liverpool
The continent’s football fans are in agreement with the Liverpool boss that the Senegal star’s best days may be ahead of him

by Joel Omotto

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Sadio Mane will get even better despite turning 30 last weekend, a view which has been supported by some of the African football fraternity.

Mane, signed by Liverpool in 2016, has been integral to the Reds’ re-emergence as a force in world football, having formed a lethal partnership with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino as Liverpool won the Champions League and Premier League in 2019 and 2020.

Even with the signing of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz, Mane, who has scored 113 goals in 258 appearances for Liverpool, has not lost his place in the team, proving just how important he is to Klopp.

"He is a machine, what he has done for this club and continues to do puts him in the bracket of 'legend',” Klopp told the Anfield Watch earlier this week. “For LFC and Senegal, he is playing to his highest level possible.

“It was his 30th birthday on the day of the game [against Manchester City] and he still looks as fresh and vibrant as when he joined this club as a younger professional,” Klopp continued. “His attitude and character are elite.

“We are so appreciative of him and I know for sure the levels he reaches at the moment are not the peak – there is even more to come from this very special player."

With some players beginning to wane once they hit 30, the fact that Klopp believes Mane will flourish is a great statement of faith in a player who has produced consistently for club and country.

He has only failed to hit 20 or more goals a season on two occasions for Liverpool and he is just four shy of that tally this season with seven Premier League matches remaining, plus potentially five more in the Champions League and FA Cup.

Mane also scored decisive penalties as Senegal won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in February and sealed a World Cup place, at the expense of Egypt on both occasions, and many fans in Africa agree with Klopp that more is yet to come.

“Waaauh, well-spoken Kloop. Mane is a great player, our hero of Africa. Shine Mane, keep up the good job, proud of you my favourite player,” Terry Kanish said on Facebook.

Ambrose Klaseen believes Mane offers more than football skills. “He has a good attitude on and off the field. He is a gentleman to his team-mates; he is passionate and humble in all he does.

“Sadio Mane is an inspiration to millions,” he said.

“Wow! The coach has said it all, Sadio is a machine for both Liverpool and Senegal. Keep it up Sadio, age is just a number,” replied Matthew Zombo.

“That is a good coach, even African people love him more. We appreciate his work and respect him,” said Justine Abdul. “For sure, Mane is my best player in Africa.”

Mane will hope to increase his season’s goal tally on Saturday when Liverpool face Manchester City again, this time in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.