Wednesday Sep 28, 2022. 15:00
Former Liverpool and Senegal midfielder Salif Diao says manager Jurgen Klopp is to blame for Sadio Mane’s departure from Anfield.
Mane joined Bayern Munich in the off-season after a superb spell with the Reds in which he scored 120 goals in 269 appearances from 2016 to 2022, and won every major trophy on offer.
Without the Senegalese star, Liverpool have struggled somewhat in the 2022-23 season, currently finding themselves in eighth place on the Premier League log and a full nine points off the pace set by leaders Arsenal.
Diao now claims that his compatriot left the Reds because of a lack of affection from Klopp.
“I think he has been here for a couple of years and I think at some point he thought he did not have the love that he needed really, here at Anfield,” the former Liverpool player explained.
“I’m not talking about the fans, for him I think it was more with the manager.
“Things weren’t really going on as they should be so that’s why he decided to go for a new challenge. I think as a top player, every time you stay 4-5 years at a top club, sometimes it’s good to go for a new challenge.”
In regards to Darwin Nunez replacing Mane in Liverpool’s attack, Diao added that the former Benfica forward deserves some patience from the supporters.
“Everyone knew it would be hard,” Diao added. “For any player coming in, it would be hard to take his place. I think people didn’t realise the hard work he has been doing here at Liverpool.
“It’s normal, he’s a top player. He’s been one of the best top three players, if not the best, over the past four years in the world. He’s proven on all levels. Of course it would be hard for any player to come in and fill his space. It’s going to take time.”