Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has revealed he felt moving to Liverpool was always his destiny.
The Senegal striker arrived from Southampton for £30million in the summer, but it was not the first time Jurgen Klopp had tried to sign Mane.
Mane has been a long-time target for Klopp, who wanted to take the player to Borussia Dortmund while Mane was playing in the Austrian Bundesliga with Red Bull Salzburg three years ago.
“I was so excited. I couldn’t believe it – that he wanted to meet and thought I could help his team, who were so good. I used to watch them all the time,” Mane told Goal of Klopp’s interest when he played for Salzburg.
“Things didn’t work out back then and it was frustrating, but that’s life – nothing just comes easy.
“I told myself to just carry on working hard, push myself and something big would come. I did that. I went to Southampton, I played well and then, Klopp wanted me again.
“Now I’m lucky enough to be working with one of the best managers in football. It was meant to happen and I am very happy to be learning all the time from him.”
Mane has hit the ground running at Anfield, scoring six goals in 10 Premier League appearances so far and the manner in which he has combined with Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino has got Liverpool fans dreaming of a title tilt.
The 24-year-old has put his good start down to a focused mind and the team’s success down to a close-knit squad.
“A good thing for footballers is not to think too much, especially when you’ve got to move to a big team like Liverpool, because that’s when you start to confuse your mind,” added Mane, who has revealed he could have signed for Man Utd under Louis van Gaal.
“In my head, I knew I was coming to a team that wanted me, to a manager who knew me well, and I was coming to work hard and to help.
“That is all I focused on, not how things would go or what could happen – good or bad. I left my mind open and was ready for anything. I’m very happy to be part of a team with big, big talent with everyone working for each other.
“It makes it easy for a player when you’ve got really good team-mates and when everyone wants the same thing.”