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As Roberto Firmino picked out Sadio Mane with the perfect ball against West Bromwich Albion.

The Senegalese international gave the Reds further justification of his quality with an exquisite one-touch finish.

Sadio, a Mane on a missionOut of all the summer signings made by Klopp, Mane was the one under more pressure than any. He came in for a fee reported to be around £30 million which had split opinion among Kopites.

Liverpool’s supporters hesitation at throwing support behind big money buys is understandable. Christian Benteke and Andy Carroll, who were purchased for similar sums of money, failed to flatter. It’s those type of signings that have left the Anfield faithful in such a negative frame of mind, but something felt different about the arrival of Mane for those who looked a little deeper.

Yes, on the surface it looks like yet another Southampton player coming in for quite an excessive fee. Another alarm bell was also the fact he has been known to be quite inconsistent during his time at the Saints. However, there were a handful of Liverpool supporters that believed this man could be quite an addition to what is already an underrated squad in the Premier League, who were outsiders with Betbind for the title.

The main thing many Liverpool supporters failed to take in was it was a Klopp signing. The man is a genius, and has a solid handle on his philosophy and players that can improve it. The past has seen many Liverpool managers signing players despite those who support the club knowing it just isn’t the right fit. Klopp might have been surprised at the initial reception surrounding Mane’s arrival at Anfield. When you heard all the Liverpool supporters claiming to be right behind Klopp and will back him in whatever he does, it wasn’t a great look when many took to social media to announce their disliking to the signing of Mane.

The sense around Mane was that he would have a great chance of fitting into Klopp’s style. The club haven’t had genuine pace since the 2013-14 season where they almost won the league thanks to Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, with Luis Suarez tying it all together.

Klopp’s system is all about winning the ball high up the pitch and breaking as a team. Having someone of Mane’s pace has completely transformed the Reds for better. When Liverpool play that relentless pressing game and win the ball back so early, Mane has become the outlet and his game has benefitted dramatically. Tottenham’s Danny Rose described playing against Mane as ‘frightening’ when the two faced off back in August, which further underlines just how much quality the Senegalese international has.

Mane has added four goals and two assists from the nine appearances for the Reds. It really has been a fantastic start from a man that had his doubters before he arrived. He’s gone from a maligned figure, to an automatic starter in a team that sits level at the top of the Premier League table.

Now that the majority of the Reds fan base are behind the No.19, he will only continue to get better with the guidance of Klopp.

Week in and week out the man delivers and will play a crucial role in whether Liverpool will challenge for the league or not. Crystal Palace is the next test for Klopp’s men in the Premier League and Liverpool’s star recruit will be looking to do whatever it takes to earn his side the three points.

Originally published at outside90.com

Post written by Lachlan Ballingall, Twitter: @L_Ballingall
for Outside 90, Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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