Danny Murphy has admitted his disappointment at Sadio Mane’s Liverpool departure but has applauded his former club for replacing the Senegal international before he departed for Bayern Munich.
Jurgen Klopp’s attack looks set to be very different next season following the signing of Luis Diaz from Porto in January and the arrival of Darwin Nunez from Benfica last month.
The ex-Red has also claimed that the Reds now have a similar amount of strength in depth as title-rivals Manchester City have had since Pep Guardiola took over in 2016 and is ‘happy’ with Liverpool’s transfer activity so far.
“I was sad to see him go, because I was one of his biggest fans, I absolutely adore him,” Murphy told the Mirror.
“I think he has been a wonderful player for Liverpool. He’s got that wonderful balance of tremendous footballing ability with a work-ethic that is just relentless.
“I think everybody loves that in a player, even if he is not quite at it in terms of his end product, he just doesn’t stop. He’s been a huge, huge player for Liverpool. Nearly every fan I have spoken to or heard on a radio show is wishing him well and thanking him for what he has done, which tells you everything. In an ideal, you would keep all of your good players until the end, but football’s not like that.
“I think what was clever is that they bought in a replacement for him really while he was still there in Luis Diaz. Diaz has got many similar traits to Mane in the tenacity, the energy, the work ethic, the good footwork.
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“He scores a goal, he’s got a fair way to go to reach the heights Mane did of course, we know that, bringing him in at a time Mane was still there was cute, it was clever, an intelligent bit of business. He’s hit the ground running, he is comfortable in his surroundings.
“You’d think that the front three of Salah, Nunez and Diaz will start and Jota will come in. To be fair to Jota, I’m doing him a disregard because he has been sensational as well since he moved, he probably thinks he deserves a place in that 11. The luxury for Jurgen Klopp of course is that he doesn’t have to throw Darwin Nunez in and play every game and if he needs a bit of time to adjust because he’s got Jota.
“The options are great for Liverpool, gone are the days where that front three, you were scared to death if one of that front three are going off to the Africa Cup of Nations, the competition for places in the front area of the pitch now is great and it is what City have had for years. While I’m disappointed Mane has gone, I’m happy with what they have done in the market to replace him.”
Klopp is still reportedly wanting to strengthen his midfield options, but will only do so if the right player is available at the right price.
Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham is a player that has been linked with a move to Anfield, but any potential deal for the England international is likely to be discussed next year.
The departure of Mane to the Bundesliga is a huge blow when you consider that he’s still at the top of his game and looks as fit as ever, but he clearly felt like he was ready for a new challenge in a new country.
Hopefully Darwin Nunez can hit the ground running in the famous red shirt to ensure we don’t feel our former No. 10’s absence as much as some are fearing at the moment.
Young talents Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho will also be eager to impress in the new season which is equally exciting.
The news of Mo Salah’s recent contract extension has provided a major boost ahead of the new campaign and our front three still looks full of goals despite Mane’s exit.
Our campaign gets underway when we face Manchester City in the Community Shield on July 30 before we travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham on the opening day of the Premier League season on August 6.
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