The Senegal forward is now on his way to Bayern Munich with a few details being sorted out and the announcement expected soon. The Reds dragged his renewal too long while signing other players who could provide competition for his position.
While those signings have largely worked out – Diogo Jota was Liverpool’s third highest goalscorer in the Premier League last season and Luis Diaz is now a fan favourite – none of those players have what we will describe as the “Mane factor”.
But with a very interesting season ahead of us, it could turn out to bite Liverpool in the behind and here’s why.
On the all-time winners list for the UEFA Champions League title, Bayern and Liverpool are tied in third with six titles each.
The Reds have come the closest to extending their win with a finals appearance in the just concluded season. Real Madrid, the record holders of the title, showed why they are the competition’s most successful club by winning another title over Liverpool.
Liverpool’s success in the competition in the last six years has been because of many Mane moments. The Senegal international is the club’s highest goalscorer in the knockout rounds of the tournament with 14 knockout goals scored in five tournaments.
Shipping such an important player away to your direct rival in the competition is surely not a smart move.
Liverpool have also been troubled by Manchester City in the Premier League of late.
In the past five years, Liverpool have amassed over 90 points on three different occasions, but only one of them was enough to beat Manchester City to the title.
In that time too, City have played without a key striker on two different occasions, thanks to Sergio Aguero’s astounding injury record and his eventual transfer. They have also won four of the five titles on offer.
They have now added the talents of the world’s most deadliest striker, Erling Haaland, to their ranks. The giant Norwegian striker comes in when Mane is leaving the club. There is no need stating how bad the timing is.
The signings of Diaz, who shared the 2020 Copa America top scorer award with the seven-time Ballon d’or winner Lionel Messi, Diogo Jota, youngster Fabio Carvalho and one of the best strikers from last season in Darwin Nuñez has shown that the Reds know what they are doing.
None of these players are Mane, however, and Haaland’s signing to an already troublesome City team only makes the decision to let Mane go look worse.
Contract issues and a perceived lack of respect by the club who considered Mohamed Salah to be more important than him has led to his decision to leave.
The Reds may have also let Mane go because, at 30, he probably does not have much time left in top level football. However, he still has a lot to give and Liverpool will be hard pressed to find the “Mane factor” which has become so important to their style in any of their new signings.