Salif Diao has blamed Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for Sadio Mane’s decision to leave Anfield this summer.
The forward, whose contract was due to expire next summer, decided to call time on his Reds career after last season’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid. Pushing for a move to Bayern Munich, the Senegal international ended up joining the Bundesliga giants in a deal worth up to £35m.
Having joined Liverpool in 2016, Mane scored 120 goals from 269 appearances for the Reds as he helped Klopp’ s side win every major honour on offer. However, his compatriot Diao has hinted at a breakdown in relations with his manager as the reason behind the Senegal international’s decision to seek pastures.
“I think he has been here for a couple of years and I think at some point he thought he did not have the love that he needed really, here at Anfield,” the former Liverpool midfielder told the ECHO. “I’m not talking about the fans, for him I think it was more with the manager.
“Things weren’t really going on as they should be so that’s why he decided to go for a new challenge. I think as a top player, every time you stay 4-5 years at a top club, sometimes it’s good to go for a new challenge.”
Mane has scored five goals in 11 appearances since joining Bayern with the Bavarians enduring a mixed start to the new Bundesliga season. Meanwhile, Liverpool have also struggled without the forward as they look to bed in Darwin Nunez as his replacement.
And believing Mane to be the best player in the world, Diao has insisted it was always going to be hard for the Uruguayan to replace the Senegalese and take time for his former club to adjust without the forward.
“Everyone knew it would be hard,” he said. “For any player coming in, it would be hard to take his place. I think people didn’t realise the hard work he has been doing here at Liverpool.
“It’s normal, he’s a top player. He’s been one of the best top three players, if not the best, over the past four years in the world. He’s proven on all levels. Of course it would be hard for any player to come in and fill his space. It’s going to take time.”