COMMENT By Emma Sanders
A strong case can be made for Adam Lallana, who appears to be improving almost by the week. Nathaniel Clyne will also have his backers.
But Sadio Mane is surely the best of the five players Liverpool have prised from Southampton in the last two years.
The Senegalese has been in sensational form since joining Liverpool for a £30million-plus fee in the summer and has transformed an attack from inconsistent and occasionally brilliant to virtually unstoppable.
Brendan Rodgers raided the Southampton squad in the summer of 2014 after their impressive season under Mauricio Pochettino and brought Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert to Liverpool.
Clyne joined 12 months later before Mane was captured under Jurgen Klopp in the summer of 2016 and the wide attacker has already netted six Premier League goals in just 10 appearances, as well as adding two assists.
Liverpool’s attacking trio of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Mane have torn teams apart and Klopp’s side have scored 30 goals in total four more than any other team in the league.
The winger has consolidated his place in the starting XI but so have Clyne and Lallana, though they miss out on the accolade due to inconsistencies shown throughout their Anfield career so far.
Lallana has been another key performer this season, scoring three goals and getting five assists in 10 Premier League starts from midfield and performed well under Klopp in the second half of last season.
He was poor in his opening months at the club though and only complete two full matches in his first 13 appearances at the start of his Anfield career as he battled for a position in the team.
Clyne has been the number one right-back since joining and has been an important part of the Reds squad, showing consistency throughout his time in Merseyside.
He doesn’t have the ability to changes games in the way Lallana and Mane do though and for that reason he is replaceable and can face competition in the near future from Liverpool’s rising academy star, Alexander Trent-Arnold.
In other Liverpool news, the club should forget shopping in January as they already have a replacement for Mane.