Sadio Mane to Liverpool has been announced (Picture: LFC)
As expected, Liverpool have finally announced the completed transfer of Sadio Mane from Southampton in what is being reported as a potential record-breaking deal.
The Senegal international has impressed in his two seasons with the Saints, playing either out wide or up front to good effect.
Liverpool will surely be looking to use him as a central striker given their problems in that position last season, so here’s a look at how the Reds seem most likely to line up with their new signing next season…
Sticking to the 4-2-3-1 that Liverpool used for most of last season, Mane takes his place alone up front with support from the likes of Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, who will likely swap positions and play with plenty of freedom to roam.
Jurgen Klopp’s side already look stronger than last season, with Joel Matip and Loris Karius also coming in as crucial additions in defence and in goal.
Alternatively, Klopp may still feel he has faith in star player Daniel Sturridge if he can get over his injury problems, which could lead Liverpool to occasionally play something like this…
Liverpool did use a 4-3-3 at times last year, and it could allow for a more all-out attacking side, though Firmino is perhaps not at his best out on the right flank.
Coutinho deeper in midfield could also leave the Reds vulnerable at the back, though there’s no denying Mane can be a useful asset with his pace and goal threat from the left as well.
Finally, could Klopp take a leaf out of Leicester’s book and revert to a more traditional 4-4-2?
Whilst we wouldn’t expect to see this kind of team too often, Liverpool do now have more quality up front to call on, with Mane and Sturridge a potentially lethal pair if given a run together like this.
However, as with the previous line up, these are not ideal roles for Coutinho and Firmino, who won’t be as well placed to give the front two the service they crave.
We’ll surely know more once Klopp makes further signings – if another striker is brought in, expect Mane to go out wide, but it will surely be a new winger snapped up next, as that is another problem position for the squad at present.