As far as defences of the English Premier League title go, Liverpool’s has been rather meek and with the Merseyside outfit also struggling to secure qualification for next season’s Champions League, questions are now being asked of manager Jurgen Klopp.
While the most pertinent of these questions is whether the German manager has squeezed every drop out of his current squad and if so, does he now need to carry out a painful rebuild over the course of the summer.
Whereas before Liverpool were in a state of evolution, it now seems as if they may need to start a new revolution and one that comes, in at least one of their star names being moved on in the transfer window.
Much has been made of Georginio Wijnaldum’s contract issues and it now seems highly likely that the Dutch international will now link up with compatriot and Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman at the Camp Nou.
While although that would be a rather substantial exit from Anfield, it is not one that would generate any revenue for the 2019 Champions League winners and if Liverpool are to undertake a rebuild, there may have to be a player who is put up for financial sacrifice.
Because when you look at all of Liverpool’s woes over the past few months, it would be unfair to focus squarely on the defence and although they have certainly struggled without Virgil van Dijk at the back, the attacking unit cannot be absolved from blame either.
Of Liverpool’s fearsome trio up top, there are two jewels from Africa and although the sale of Mohamed Salah would seem largely unlikely in the next couple of months, the same cannot be said of Sadio Mane.
The Senegalese forward has largely gone off the boil since the turn of the year and where the Senegalese star was brimming with confidence in the past, that confidence no longer seems to be on show.
As far as African players performance in the Premier League goes, Mane has certainly been one of the best that the continent has offered and if any club was attempting to buy him 12 months ago, they would have been given a polite no.
However, that was when Liverpool could negotiate from a position of strength and with the soon to be former Premier League champions stuttering against lowly opposition in recent times, that strength is now starting to dissipate.[embedded content]
While when it comes to Mane’s value, the former Southampton player is in danger of becoming a depreciating asset and whereas a potential suitor may have been asked to pay £100m in the past, that may no longer be the case.
Which means the Liverpool board may decide to cash in while they still can and try to maximise any potential income at the same time. Income, that could be used to bring a couple of new faces to the squad.
Of course, this regeneration tactic has been deployed by Liverpool in the past and you only need to look at the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, to see just how positive such a departure can be in the long run.
While the sale of Coutinho also suggested that even at the peak of someone’s talents, no one player is bigger than the club of Liverpool and if the right offer were to come in for Mane this summer, it would certainly be considered.
With that in mind, the question is what would be the right kind of offer? Considering he is 29 years of age and not quite at the peak of his powers, a similar fee for the one that Barcelona paid for Coutinho in 2018 may be a stretch too far.
However, if they can receive bids in and around the £80m mark, you get the feeling that the Liverpool board would certainly be more receptive to any discussions that may have taken place last season.
It’s difficult for Mane as there is still a player in there and on his day, he can be as fearsome as anyone else in the Premier League. It’s just that day, is now one that is recurring with less and less regularity and that is why Liverpool may be tempted to sell before the start of next season.