Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has spoken about Sadio Mane's first season at Anfield.
Mane was exceptional during his first season representing Liverpool. The Senegal international scored 13 goals and registered eight assists in 29 appearances.
So, Mane's goals and assists were crucial in terms of the Reds qualifying for Europe's elite competition, which allowed Reds boss Jurgen Klopp to sign higher quality players in the summer of 2017.
As you can see below, Carragher has recently touched on the topic.
As quoted by Anfield Watch on Twitter, the Scouser told The Telegraph the following: "Without Mane being so good, Liverpool would not have qualified for the Champions League at the end of his first season, which enabled Klopp to lure (Mohamed) Salah and (Virgil) van Dijk, and then later Alisson Becker and Fabinho.
"Mane’s excellence was the catalyst at a key point in Klopp’s rebuilding process."
Anfield Watch Verdict
Carragher is spot on. Mane was the first big name that Klopp signed. Without the winger, the rebuild under Klopp would have taken longer.
If anything, Mane has been somewhat underappreciated by the Anfield faithful. Salah does seem to get a lot more credit than the Senegal international.
The Egyptian international is one of the best forwards in the world, so he deserves plenty of praise.
But, Mane should be spoken about in a similar light as Salah. It will be a sad day when the 30-year-old does eventually depart Anfield.
Great players are always missed.