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'Misjudged': Jamie Carragher admits he's completely changed his mind about £32m Liverpool player

Sadio Mane has proved Jamie Carragher wrong since his move to Liverpool and the former Reds man said he is a Ballon d’Or contender.

Ahead of the FA Cup final at Wembley tomorrow, Carragher wrote in his weekly Telegraph column that he has completely changed his mind about Mane.

Mane has played on the right, then the left and now up front for Liverpool and done so with outstanding energy and quality.

Despite that, he has not been talked about as much as Mo Salah or even Luis Diaz since his January arrival, but Carragher has been so impressed with Mane’s body of work under Jurgen Klopp.

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Mane has proved Carragher wrong

“From the day he arrived at Liverpool, it has felt like he has been misjudged. When Mane joined Liverpool in June, 2016, I gave my immediate verdict on the deal via social media. ‘I think £30 million is expensive,’ I wrote. That tweet has not aged well. Neither have many of the responses agreeing with it.

“There was a consensus that Mane was overpriced. His fee from Southampton was widely reported to be £37 million. When I spoke to Liverpool’s chief executive at the time, Ian Ayre, he was keen to stress the cost was nearer £32 million.

“The distinction was important because the higher figure would have made Mane Liverpool’s most expensive ever signing, and many recent record Anfield purchases such as Christian Benteke and Andy Carroll had failed to live up to their price tag. It shows how unsure I was about how good Mane was that the cost of the deal was concerning.

“When players perform as Mane has, there appears to be a collective amnesia of how the deal was perceived when it was announced. Today, it seems ridiculous for supporters or pundits to be quibbling over that extra £5m for Mane. Whatever he cost Liverpool, he was a bargain.

“He was the first big purchase of the Klopp era and has set the tone for the excellent recruitment ever since. The Klopp effect took (him) to a level few anticipated.”

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Mane has been linked with Bayern Munich amid uncertainty over his contract situation, but it would be more of a surprise if there was a top European club out there who did not want him.

Plenty has been made of Salah’s contract situation but Mane’s needs sorting too, and Liverpool should be keen to tie him down.

Of course, what he demands might rely on what Salah gets paid – or if he renews – but he has underlined his importance to Liverpool time and time again, and if they do win the quadruple, he has a huge chance of winning the 2022 Ballon d’Or.

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