Diogo Jota is the one who will truly replace Sadio Mané at Liverpool – not Darwin Nunez or Luis Diaz. The attacker has the specific skill.
Sadio Mane left Liverpool this week in what is the club’s biggest departure for a long time. Yes, Philippe Coutinho’s exit was a big deal, but it is the Reds who lose one of their key players from their most successful side in decades.
And Mané has been a key player in many ways. Mainly he was single because he is a world class footballer. The Senegalese star delivered some of the greatest moments under Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool claimed every trophy.
Then there’s the fact that Mane was Klopp’s first major signing. He was the trigger for it all, the one who brought in the specific skills Liverpool needed to make their new plan work.
But Mané is also unique under Klopp in another way. He has been the go-to when a change is needed in attack, having played every role in the top three during his time at Liverpool. Starting on the right wing, Mané moved to the left when Mohamed Salah arrived.
He was also Roberto Firmino’s cover in the middle as Klopp trusted Mane to play comfortably in any role. This meant that as long as Liverpool had their number 10 available, they could build a world-class attack.
And luckily, they haven’t lost that skill.
Diogo Jota could replace Sadio Mané
Because Mané has moved, it is difficult to say who replaces him. Luis Diaz takes his place on the left wing but the two played side by side last season – so he’s not a substitute.
However, Darwin Nunez does not really replace him. He’s a completely different type of player – as much replacing and upgrading on Divock Origi as Mané.
Instead, the true Mané’s replacement is Diogo Jota. He is now the one who does not have a defined role in the team and the one who can play all three roles in the future. Mainly known from the left, the Portuguese star has also become a fantastic centre-forward.
Michael Owen now sees him as a wonderful goalscorer.
“The timing of his runs is absolutely brilliant,” Owen said. Premier League productions. “Very, very dangerous in the air.”
His two feet mean Jota can also play from the right, something Klopp tried more often last season. And that will be incredibly handy because Salah is really the only player in the squad who can play there now that Mane is gone.
Jota may not have quite the same first-team role as Mane, but he will fill that vital all-rounder void.
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