Liverpool’s Mane man klaps Klopp’s first impression
The team manager thought the Senegalese would be too much trouble to tame, but he has become the perfect striker
It is curious to recall how, the first time Jurgen Klopp set eyes on Sadio Mane, he decided: “I don’t have time for this.” Normally a good judge of character, he was put off by the askew baseball cap and the blond streak running through his hair: affectations, he feared, that would be too much trouble to tame.
Fast-forward from that initial meeting in Dortmund, and it would be difficult to identify a player who more encapsulates the Klopp credo. His second goal against Chelsea, at the expense of the doomed Kepa Arrizabalaga, was a miniaturist study in the qualities that have made Liverpool so relentless: off-the-ball movement, the forcing of a fumble, the implacable commitment to atone for even the slightest error.
With Klopp, it is always about the philosophy. Take his reaction to the applause from Liverpool’s bench when Andreas Christiansen was sent off. “We never do that,” he snapped, to cue instant silence...