Sadio Mane has either hinted that he’s staying at Liverpool or ‘cast real doubt’ on his future. This could be the Reds’ last match together.
End of an error
‘When Liverpool walk out in Paris on Saturday night, it could be for the last time,’ writes party pooper in chief, Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail.
‘Not just the last match of an exhausting, brilliant season – but their last match as the Liverpool we recognise. The first Premier League champions under Jurgen Klopp, the serial Champions League finalists, conquerors of Barcelona against all odds, the three-pronged attack that terrified all of Europe.’
Well the contracts of just four players expire in the summer. So either Samuel is slightly overrating the importance of Divock Origi, Loris Karius, Adrian and James Milner – who has been offered an extension to his deal – or that is complete nonsense.
‘The next match Liverpool play after this they could be without Sadio Mane, who says he will make his mind up on his future after the final. Mo Salah has said he will play another year, but gives no guarantees about signing a new contract, meaning next summer he could be gone, too.’
They could be. Anything could happen. Trent Alexander-Arnold could randomly decide he wants a career change and trade all this for a mundane office job. But crucially, both Mane and Salah are contracted to Liverpool until at least summer 2023, Jurgen Klopp has extended his deal, numerous other players have done the same over the course of the last year, and so this probably won’t be ‘their last match as the Liverpool we recognise’.
‘So much can change. Others can catch up, and they will, just as it once appeared as if Chelsea would dominate for decades. How or when, we do not know. But replacing Mane, and maybe Salah, is the start of transition at Liverpool.’
Wasn’t replacing Roberto Firmino, which has essentially been done seamlessly, ‘the start of transition at Liverpool’? Isn’t ‘transition’ in a squad pretty much constant? And what of upgrading the midfield upon Georginio Wijnaldum’s departure? And bringing Ibrahima Konate into genuine first-team contention? Those do feel like signs of a successful ‘transition’.
‘Luis Diaz looks a brilliant player, Diogo Jota has impressed, too. Yet Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino clicked in a way few forward lines ever can. They were exceptional.’
Absolutely. Completed agreed. Apropos of nothing, that ‘exceptional’ forward line has played more than 60 minutes of the same match together just four times this season, most recently in February. And yet having largely moved on from an attack which ‘clicked’ so brilliantly, Liverpool have won two trophies, missed out on the Premier League title by a point and have a Champions League final coming up.
‘It is not just a case of taking out one good player, and putting in another. There must be chemistry, too.’
Indeed. Like with, say, Diogo Jota. Or Luis Diaz, maybe. Or pretty much any first-team signing Liverpool have made since summer 2020 who wasn’t named Ben Davies. Be safe in the knowledge that they have cracked the ‘chemistry’ needed in the transfer market.
‘This is not to be pessimistic about Liverpool’s future. Klopp is a brilliant coach, and committed, the recruitment department is close to unmatched.
‘Even so, Saturday in Paris may yet be a swansong. And if it is, it has been a pleasure. But change is inevitable; so we should all make the most of this.’
In the absolute worst-case scenario, it will be Mane’s ‘swansong’. And Liverpool already have Diaz and Jota ready to help replace him, plus whoever they could sign with the proceeds from an early sale this summer. So while ‘change is inevitable,’ this will hardly be ‘their last match as the Liverpool we recognise’.
Threat Level Midnight
On the subject of Mane:
‘Sadio Mane has cast real doubt on his Liverpool future by revealing he WILL speak out – strongly – on his fraught contract situation, AFTER the Champions League final’ – David Maddock, Daily Mirror.
‘Sadio Mane: Senegal forward hints at Liverpool stay as he promises ‘special’ answer over his future’ – BBC Sport.
‘Sadio Mané drops biggest hint yet he will stay at Liverpool next season’ – The Guardian.
Same quotes. Completely different message. Righto.
Mediawatch cannot quite figure out what part of Mane saying, “Honestly I think the answer I can give you now is I feel very good, and I am fully focused on the Saturday game, that is the answer I must give before the final,” and, “Come back to me on Saturday and I will give you the best answer you want to hear, for sure. It’s special,” is him ‘threatening explosive Liverpool contract update’. Maybe Maddock was sat with Samuel at the time.
Grant my last request
Over at the Daily Mirror website: ‘Vinicius Jr makes request to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ahead of Champions League final’.
That’s unorthodox but this should be good.
‘Vinicius Jr has told Jurgen Klopp to put out his best team possible when Liverpool take on his Real Madrid side this Saturday.’
Oh. Footballer says usual footballer thing about wanting to face strong opponent and best players.
Mediawatch does not wish to accuse The Sun website of anything nefarious, but it does feel a little as though they are seeing what they want to when claiming ‘Real Madrid stars copy iconic Reservoir Dogs suits as they arrive in Paris for Champions League final v Liverpool’.
They wore a black suit jacket and trousers, a white shirt and a skinny black tie. As far as tributes go, this was understated.
But Kealan Hughes takes this ball and runs with it, crowbarring 15 different film titles and one miniseries into his 14 paragraphs. Which is fine, except Tarantino almost definitely did not have anything to do with Airplane!, I, Robot, Parasite, Jaws or indeed any of the movies mentioned. So this is just a random list of films being reeled off because some men dressed smartly. Football journalism is still going strong.
‘Thibaut Courtois WILL take a penalty for Real Madrid against Liverpool despite his mixed fortunes from the spot’ – The Sun website.
Thibaut Courtois said he “wouldn’t be one of the first five, for sure, but maybe after, if you need to shoot you have to shoot,” because those are the literal rules of a penalty shootout – Mediawatch.