Jamie Carragher said Sadio Mane should “deal with me” amid reports of linking Liverpool winger to Bayern Munich after the Senegalese kept his side in the race for the Premier League title with the winner at Aston Villa.
Only the day after Sky Germany has revealed Bayern’s interest in Liverpool’s 10th placeMane completed a vital turnaround for Liverpool with a great header in a 2-1 win at Villa Park on Tuesday night.
The 30-year-old showed great athleticism to hit Luis Diaz’s cross in the second half – after Joel Matip annulled early opener Douglas Luiz in a frantic start to the game – with Jurgen Klopp’s team now tied for points with Manchester City at the top of the table.
Carragher not only described Mane as his “favorite player” on the Liverpool team – but even claimed the 30-year-old is just as important as 30-star star Mohamed Salah for the Reds ’fortune, and the Egyptian winger is just a replacement Tuesday night.
“When I watched Liverpool as a fan, Sadio Mane was my favorite player,” Carragher said Sky Sports. “There is something about Mane. He sometimes sacrificed himself and the shift he enters.
“He, together with Salah, has been doing this for five years – they have never been injured! They are there from week to week for 90 minutes, they get numbers every week. What they have done for this football club is amazing.
“I am a big fan of Sadie Mane and I can assure you that he will not go anywhere because I will not let him go to Bayern Munich, he will have to save me!
“I love him, I absolutely love him to the end. And not just because he’s a great player and what he did for Liverpool.
“Initially he entered on the right wing and then moved to the left when Salah arrived. Diaz enters from the left and Mane goes to the center forward.
“He’s always moving for someone else, but his performance never falls. It doesn’t seem to matter where Mane plays, you get exactly the same from him, that can’t be said for the rest of Liverpool’s attack.”
Klopp: Mane is a machine
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described his match winner as “world class” and “machine”.
The winner at Villa was Mane’s 22nd goal of the season in all competitions – his 15th in the Premier League. The Senegalese national team player has now overtaken Iota as Liverpool’s second top scorer of the season, behind Salah.
“He’s a machine, I told him after the game,” Klopp said Sky Sports. “[He’s a] a massive player, his physicality is brutal. A mixture of technique, desire and physicality.
“You can see [he has] a few feet in feet, we can see this to be honest. He is a fantastic world class player.
“His performance was amazing,” added Captain Jordan Henderson. “The work he did with the ball for the team was amazing, he defended in the end. But his quality in and around boxing – it’s a gym, isn’t it with those neck muscles!”
Mane: I’m happy in Liverpool
Mane did not speak specifically about his personal future, but revealed that he is happy at the club – especially when the team he currently plays for continues to lift the trophy.
Maneu, who has won five major medals since joining the club from Southampton in 2016, has only one year left on his contract after this season – but could end his current campaign with three more trophies in his name.
“When we won the trophies, I was happier,” Mane said Sky Sports. “I’m just trying to enjoy every moment and try to score and assist my teammates.
“It’s for the team or nothing, the guys make it a lot easier for me. I’m very happy.”
Speaking about his goal against Villa, Mane added: “It was a good interception by Diaz and I was in the top five so I just had to put him in the net. Even without strength, I usually score and that’s what I was trying to do.
“I know him very well, he is a good player. We train every day and when he gets the ball, I honestly knew he would throw in.”
May 14 – Chelsea (Wembley) FA Cup final
May 17 – Southampton (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports
May 22 – wolves (h) Premier League
May 28 – Real Madrid (n) Champions League final