Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has admitted to making the wrong call on deciding to not sign Sadio Mane while he was in charge at Borussia Dortmund.
Mane has developed into one of the world’s best players at Anfield over the past 12 months, scoring 22 goals in the Premier League last season, while he already has nine strikes and six assists in 15 league games this term.
Klopp had the opportunity to sign Mane during his final two years of his tenure at Dortmund, with the Senegal forward impressing significantly for Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga, but the German felt it wasn’t the right time.
“No it was simply a wrong evaluation of my side,” Klopp said. “I thought at that time that it was a lot of pressure on Dortmund and this transfer it had to be right.
“It is not the only wrong decision I have made, this one I could correct some years later.”
Mane was eventually snapped up by Southampton prior to Klopp’s arrival in England, and he hit double figures in league goals during two consecutive campaigns for the Saints before Klopp decided to bring him to Liverpool in his first pre-season in charge.
Klopp has built a formidable front three featuring Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, which just fell short in the 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid, before redeeming themselves in the recent final against Tottenham.
Mane finished fourth in the recent Ballon d’Or vote, behind Lionel Messi, team-mate Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo on the podium, but ahead of fellow Reds attacker Salah.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was also full of praise for Mane’s recent form, with the 27-year-old scoring four goals and getting three assists in his last five league appearances.
“It’s amazing, Sadio has been outstanding for a long period of time now,” Henderson said. “He just needs to continue that form. He’s a fantastic person off the pitch, he dedicates his life to football.”
The Reds face a crunch match against Salzburg in the Champions League on Tuesday, with a loss putting their knockout qualification hopes at risk.
They will then hope to extend their eight-point Premier League lead over Leicester City with a home match against Watford on Saturday.