Ex-Liverpool midfielder blames lack of Jurgen Klopp ‘love’ for compatriot’s costly exit

Will Ford
Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and Sadio Mane

Former Liverpool midfielder Salif Diao has blamed Jurgen Klopp for Sadio Mane’s decision to leave Anfield this summer.

Mane joined Bayern Munich for around £35m having scored 120 goals in 269 appearances for the Reds, helping Klopp’s side to win every major honour on offer.

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His contract with Liverpool was due to expire at the end of this season but the Senegal international decided to call time on his time with the Premier League giants after last season’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

Diao claims his compatriot left the club having not felt ‘the love’ 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 midfielder told The Liverpol Echo.

“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.”

Mane has endured a mixed start to his career with Bayern, scoring on his Bundesliga debut against Frankfurt and a brace in the 7-0 win over Bochum, but failing to add to that tally in the four games since, all of which Bayern have failed to win.

Liverpool haven’t fared any better and Darwin Nunez, signed in the wake of Mane’s departure, has struggled to make a significant impact.

“Everyone knew it would be hard,” Diao said on Nunez replacing Mane.

“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.”