Chelsea and two other Big Six teams will be glad to see the back of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane
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Liverpool could mourn the loss of Sadio Mane this summer as Bayern Munich remain heavily linked to the attacker, but, naturally, a cluster of Premier League teams will be overjoyed to see the back of him. Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal, in particular, have borne the brunt of his goalscoring exploits, which almost helped fire the Reds to a quadruple last season.
Mane promised to reveal his future plans after the Champions League final, and having delivered that message with a smile, many expected it to be good news. But the latest reports indicate that he is ready for a new challenge, and Bayern are in pole position to secure his services.
The Senegalese was denied a superb first-half strike against Real Madrid by Thibaut Courtois’ heroic save on Saturday, and he couldn’t drag Liverpool back into the game after Vinicius Jr opened the scoring. Mane’s six-year spell at Anfield may therefore have ended on the bitter note of a Champions League final defeat if he does decide to call it a day.
Nevertheless, some Premier League sides will rejoice at the news of his potential departure, having shone against City, Chelsea and Arsenal especially.
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City have fared worst out of the ‘Big Six’, letting in 10 Mane goals and allowing him to set up two more in his 19 appearances against them. Chelsea follow closely behind, having shipped eight goals and two assists at the hands of the flying forward.
The Gunners have let in fewer goals directly from Mane’s boots with just eight, but he has set up five more. Manchester United and Tottenham, meanwhile, have fared better against Mane, only conceding five goals between them from the Liverpool star.
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But they will surely be just as content to wave goodbye to Mane if he heads for the exit this summer, having been a stalwart of Jurgen Klopp’s rampaging Reds over the past few seasons. The 30-year-old has hit double figures in the Premier League in every single campaign since he joined Southampton in 2014 – a remarkable feat for a player who features out wide more often than through the middle.
It remains to be seen who Klopp and co seek out to fill Mane’s boots, and if he will terrorise City, Chelsea and Arsenal in similar fashion. Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele is believed to be on Liverpool’s radar, but the Blues and Paris Saint-Germain are also thought to be in the mix as his contract at the Camp Nou winds down.
While Mane maintains a strong record against three of the Big Six sides, Liverpool’s collective record against the top four was questionable last season. With six draws from six, some optimistic fans will point to the fact that they did not lose any of those meetings, but the rest may be surprised to learn that they didn’t win any either.
Having been on the hunt for all four available trophies as recently as May 24, many on Merseyside will be underwhelmed that they rounded off a stellar campaign with just two trophies in the bank. After suffering Champions League heartbreak, Klopp predicted that his side would come again, but he may not have Mane by his side to make that happen.
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