Liverpool: Mane injury latest; striker almost made £45m January move; Shankly Gates get new home
Every time an international break comes around there are always concerns from fans of Premier League clubs that their star names will pick up an injury in a far off land and damage their chances over the season.
Liverpool fans were are no exception, and this weekend they received some worrying news suggesting that Sadio Mane, the star of Liverpool’s opening to the season, had picked up a knock playing for Senegal and would be unavailable for the weekend’s game against champions Leicester City.
However, Mane was back in training at Melwood on Monday having flown back from his homeland, allaying any fears that he had picked up a significant injury playing for his country.
Jurgen Klopp will be relieved that Mane is available to him this weekend, as Liverpool looked blunt and lifeless in attack in the one game the Senegalese missed this campaign. A 2-0 defeat to Burnley. When Mane has been available, the Reds have scored ten goals in three matches, including putting four past Arsenal and five past Burton Albion.
He may have only just joined the club, but Mane is already a vital part of the team.
Mane cost in excess of £30 million this summer, making him Liverpool’s most expensive summer transfer. That same honour went to striker Christian Benteke last season, but things never really worked out for the Belgian in the same way they appear to be for Mane. Benteke now plays for Crystal Palace, after all.
But Benteke’s summer transfer and the last six months of his toil at Anfield could have been avoided, as it has been revealed that the Belgian was subject to a £45 million bid from an unnamed Chinese Super League club in January. Jurgen Klopp was reportedly willing to let the striker go, but Benteke did not want to take the deal.
Although some fans may be irked by the news that the Reds could have squeezed another £15 million out of their flop striker, it is testament to the persistence of the striker that he turned down the big money in China to fight for his place at Liverpool and secure a move to a Premier League side.
It would have been very easy for Benteke to move to the Far East and earn a packet whilst killing his career, so fair play to him for remaining in England.
Finally, Liverpool’s new main stand, which has been expanded by around 9,000 seats, will be used for the first time on Saturday against Leicester, but the work done meant that the iconic Shankly Gates had to be demolished to make way for the work.
The gates, opened in 1982, were previously located near the Hillsborough memorial but have been moved to the end of the Centenary Stand on the other side of the ground.
Whilst not ideal, as the gates looked majestic next to the Hillsborough memorial, it allows the club to retain their iconic landmark without compromising the expansion of the ground.
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