Liverpool captured their second signing of the summer, as Sadio Mane joined the club from Southampton, in a deal worth around £30 million. The pacey forward joins goalkeeper, Loris Karius at Anfield, as Jurgen Klopp begins to step things up in the transfer market.
What does the signing of Mane mean for the Liverpool starting XI next season? Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are the two players who are most likely to keep their places in the team, with Coutinho operating from the left and Firmino playing centrally, which gives Mane a starting position on the right. Despite his great pace, Mane is not a traditional winger and he will be looking to cut inside as often as possible, finding the space between the left-back and the left sided central defender. Mane adds an extra dimension of pace to Liverpool’s attack, something which was missing last season. He will make good runs, from deeper positions and is clever at receiving the ball and creating goal scoring opportunities for himself, something he has proven during his time at Southampton.
All this may be bad news for another former Southampton player, as Adam Lallana could be the player who finds his position in the team coming under scrutiny. So, with much needed pace and direct running added to the attack, where else does Klopp need to strengthen, so Liverpool can make a title challenge?
During his time at Borussia Dortmund, Klopp used Pierre Emerick Aubameyang as a wide player, coming inside and linking up with Robert Lewandowski, who was playing centrally. Could Daniel Sturridge do a similar job as Lewandowski or does Klopp need to look elsewhere? In truth, there are not a great deal of top quality strikers available and Klopp may even look to use both Sturridge and Divock Origi, at different times during the season.
Other areas of the team which certainly need strengthening are the defence and central midfield. A good partner is required for Mamadou Sakho and it remains to be seen if Joel Matip is the man for the job. A player with good Premier League experience, considering the league is going to be the aim of next season, would be great. However premier league players cost a fortune, with Kolo Toure leaving this summer Liverpool would need to bring in another defender.
Continuing in defence and left-back is an area which definitely needs strengthening. Jonas Hector is a player who is getting a lot of attention at Euro 2016 and is a very reliable full-back. He likes to get forward in counter-attacking positions but at 6ft 1”, is able to cope defensively with aerial balls sent in from the opposite flank, a quality which would be very useful in the Premier League.
The final piece in the Liverpool jigsaw for next season, is a partner in the centre of midfield for Emre Can. Jordan Henderson had a difficult season with injuries, let’s hope that’s behind him now. It’s widely accepted that Can is going to be a regular under Klopp but the second central midfield position is open, with the likes of Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen not fitting the bill. How about a move for Moussa Sissoko of Newcastle? Another player who has proven he can perform in the Premier League. It may not be difficult to prise him away from Newcastle, as they will be playing Championship football next season, but the right deal would surely tempt the Frenchman? It would not take a significant amount of money to make the deal happen.
The signings of Mane, Hector and Moussa Sissoko do not jump off the page because they are not really big names. However, in terms of forming a starting XI capable of winning the Premier League, they would certainly help.