Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has finally shed light on his decision to reject the chance to sign Sadio Mane while he was in charge at Borussia Dortmund.
The Reds boss spoke to Mane when he was manager of Dortmund and the Senegalese forward was playing for Red Bull Salzburg, but opted against signing him.
The Senegalese star went on to join Southampton in a £11.8m deal, before transferring to Liverpool for £34m in summer 2016.
And while Mane has arguably gone on to become Liverpool’s most reliable attacker – as well as the leader in TEAMtalk’s Player of the Year ladder – Klopp has come clean on his thinking not sign the forward while Dortmund boss; that despite Mane having scored 19 and 23 goals during his two full seasons with the Austrian club.
Asked why he initially rejected the chance to sign Mane, Klopp explained: “It was simply a wrong evaluation of my side.
“I thought at that time that it was a lot of pressure on Dortmund and this transfer it had to be right.
“It is not the only wrong decision I have made, this one I could correct some years later.”
Referring to his decision while as Dortmund boss, Klopp had earlier stated in 2016: “I don’t know why I didn’t sign him before. I like the player, it was more of a feeling. At Dortmund we could only get one player for this position, not two or three, so it needed to be exactly the right fit in this moment.
“I’ve said a lot of times, I’m not a genius and I couldn’t exactly imagine where he was in terms of playing in the Austrian league and what does the Austrian league mean for the football [at Dortmund]?
“I have made more mistakes in my life like this but he would have been more expensive if we had taken him to Dortmund and then he had been sold to Liverpool, so all good for Liverpool.
“The more I think about it, that was my first Liverpool decision. Nice.”
Mane’s form this season has been nothing short of spectacular, with the Senegal attacker netting nine times in the Premier League and a further two more in the Champions League, form which Reds skipper Jordan Henderson has encouraged him to continue with as the Reds prepare for a hectic month.
“It’s amazing, Sadio has been outstanding for a long period of time now,” Henderson said. “He just needs to continue that form. He’s a fantastic person off the pitch, he dedicates his life to football.”