Best Liverpool debut in 30 years - pundit makes big claim over Mane bow
By Alex Stevens
Jan Molby has hailed Sadio Mane’s sensational debut as the best by any Liverpool player since John Barnes.
The £34million summer signing from Southampton scored a stunning solo goal and was a key figure as Jurgen Klopp’s side tore Arsenal to shreds either side of half-time in the thrilling 4-3 win at Emirates Stadium.
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Molby was impressed by Mane’s bow and likened it to Barnes’ first game in Red after his own big-money transfer 29 years ago.
“Mane produced a brilliant debut against Arsenal and it reminded me of the impact John Barnes made when he signed from Watford in 1987,” Molby said in his Liverpool Echo column.
“Everyone was aware of Barnes but we didn’t really know just how good he was. It was the same with Mane this summer. Liverpool fans knew him from his time at Southampton and thought he was okay but many weren’t entirely convinced, especially at £30million.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“Klopp clearly saw something he liked and the early signs are that Mane will do a lot better than okay.”
Mane sustained a shoulder injury in training on Wednesday and Klopp revealed the injury is not a serious one although the manager admitted he has “no idea” if the wide forward will be fit for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Burnley.
“It was a relief to hear that Sadio Mane’s shoulder injury is only minor,” Molby added to the Echo.
“If he misses out against Burnley we have plenty of options in that attacking area. I’d expect Klopp to drop Roberto Firmino a bit deeper and start Divock Origi.”
Daniel Sturridge will also be available for selection after missing the win at Arsenal with a hip injury, while James Milner returns following a heel problem.