Liverpool have been after Sadio Mane for many weeks, and after the two finally tied the knot, the Anfield faithful can look forward to the ex-Southampton speedster gracing the pitch in the famous red shirt. Along with many other immensely useful traits, Mané does bring tremendous versatility to Liverpool’s ranks, allowing them to line up in a variety of ways depending on either their own offensive ambition, or reacting to each specifc opposition.
Over the next few pages, three of the best; and indeed the most likely, line-ups are laid out, demonstrating just how integral Sadio Mane could be for Liverpool in 2016/17, wherever Klopp chooses to deploy him. Let us know in the comments below, which system would work best in your opinion, and whether you think that the former Southampton man will be a success at Anfield or not.
Almost the stock system for most sides these days, 4-3-3 gives a team balance, defensive solidity, and a choice of whether to embrace width or attacking in central areas.
Sadio Mane will have played in this formation while at Southampton, and almost certainly at earlier stages in his career too. Therefore, the only adaptation required for the player will be conforming to Klopp’s gegenpressing approach, although with Mane’s natural work ethic, this should be no problem.
The pace that the former Southampton man is able to harness means that he will be a threat to the opposition wherever he is played across the front three in this system.
It is likely that a role wide on the right hand side will be Mane’s most frequent berth, leaving the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi to fight it out for the remaining two spots in the offensive trio. From this position, he can either use his dribbling and speed to get to the by-line and pull crosses back, or cut inside and unleash shots from closer to goal.
He is not a player that will stick rigidly to a position however, and so even if not requested by the former Dortmund manager, the front three will most probably rotate throughout the match, allowing Mane to test himself against a variety of defenders. This would prevent the back-line from becoming settled, keep them guessing, and Mane is just the right sort of player to capitalise on any indecision that may result.