Speaking on Sky Sports after the Chelsea v Liverpool game, former Reds player Jamie Carragher has suggested that the club might be wise to start looking for someone to really challenge Sadio Mane for a place in the side, with the view to them succeeding him.
Mane has been a stalwart in the Reds' line-up for several years since joining from fellow Premier League side Southampton, and in that time he has become a world-class operator down that left flank, scoring memorable goals and winning trophies like the Premier League and Champions League.
However, he has more recently been a little inconsistent in his displays and that has led Carragher to call for the Reds to be looking to the future and who could take over from him in the team:
“He has been an absolute revelation since he came to the club.
“I was really worried about watching him last season. Then, at the start of this season, he was back to his best.
“The problem for Liverpool I feel with someone like Sadio Mane, no matter how poorly he plays, they still put him in the team because they don’t have the back-up that other teams have.
“I think that’s maybe the next step for Liverpool. Maybe in the summer, to bring in the next Mane. To really put pressure on his position for next season and if he goes through a (bad) run, then you have someone who can step in.”
Anfield Watch Verdict
There's been a growing feeling around Liverpool in the last year or so that our top first-team players are going to need successors identified in the next couple of years and it is clear that that is in Carragher's thinking here.
Of course, the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are far from finished in terms of featuring at the top level but time waits for no man and eventually new faces will be needed.
It makes sense to be looking at contingency plans now, then, before things start getting a little more desperate in the seasons ahead.