Saido Mane

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Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool overhaul has a different feel than past years

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Liverpool has arguably seen more turnover than any other top Premier League side the past seven years.

Looking to return to its former glory, the Reds have tried, tried, and tried again to push themselves back into the upper echelon of Premier League giants. They haven’t truly fallen from grace, but their constant turnover also hasn’t given the club any sense of staying power.

That may change.

With Jurgen Klopp – the Reds’ fourth manager in the last six years – preparing for his first full season at the helm, the multitude of Liverpool transfers this summer have a different feel about them.

In the recent past the Reds have shelled out money for overachieving one-hit-wonders who fail to produce for their new club, this group seems to be collected with the goal of building squad strength.

The most expensive signing this season, Saido Mane, has been a consistent presence in the Premier League for the last two seasons at Southampton, and while consistency is still a concern for the Senegalese winger, his explosiveness and final-third production is a known quantity.

With Newcastle falling to the Championship, Liverpool plucked Georginio Wijnaldum as a safety net for the oft-injured Philippe Coutinho, and the Dutchman could even find himself in the starting lineup should Klopp find room.

Outside of those two big-money buys, Klopp then raided the Bundesliga for undervalued diamonds in the rough. He found young yet experienced defender Joel Matip on a free and 23-year-old goalkeeper Loris Karius – providing much-needed competition for Simon Mignolet – for $8 million.

It is more than fathomable that, at some point this season, all four of those purchases could find themselves in the starting lineup.

In addition, Klopp appears to have flipped the script, selling overachieving players at what seems to be the peak of their value. He bagged $18 million for Joe Allen after the midfielder rose to prominence following Wales’ run through Euro 2016. He sent Jordan Ibe to Bournemouth for nearly $20 million, taking advantage of the heightened value on young English talent. Klopp is also still looking to offload some of the excess weight from previous tenures, such as Mario Balotelli, Christian Benteke, and others.

Until the Reds make it back to that top tier of Premier League monsters, they will have to continue to look for these value buys. If there’s anyone to lead that sometimes underwhelming charge, it’s Klopp. This season will provide a deeper look into the German’s mind as he continues to make this squad his own, and it will be a joy to watch him work.

Calf injury sidelines Southampton’s Mane, rules him out of AFCON

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Southampton manager Ronald Koeman confirmed after their 1-0 FA Cup win over Ipswich Town that Senegalese winger Saido Mane will be out 4-6 weeks with a calf injury.

The injury, suffered in Saints 2-0 win over Arsenal on New Years Day, will force Mane to miss the African Cup of Nations to be held this month in Equatorial Guinea. He was removed just three minutes before halftime in the match, indicating there clearly was a problem.

“I don’t know what happened exactly because after his first moment he continued but he had too much pain and we had to change him,” Koeman said in his postmatch press conference on Thursday. Today, he admitted the 22-year-old would need a spell on the sidelines.

Mane has had a roller coaster ride on the field this season, with electric performances punctuated by dull ones. He has four goals across 14 Premier League appearances with Southampton this year after arriving from Red Bull Salzburg in the summer.

The AFCON runs from January 17-February 8, and while he theoretically could return for the final stages should his country make it there, it’s likely in all parties’ interests to keep him out.

His replacement for Senegal could have been Demba Ba, who was dropped by manager Alain Giresse, but that’s unlikely after the hissy fit Ba threw upon being left out of the preliminary squad. Following the release of Giresse’s squad, Ba tweeted the following:

He then told media, “The coach called and said that I needed to rest and take care of my ankle. It feels strange to me as I am completely fit and able to play football. If Alain Giresse wanted to include me, he would have done so as he knows that my ankle is completely fine.”

Other candidates to replace Mane could

At the club level, new Southampton addition Eljero Elia will likely see time immediately after coming on loan from Werder Bremen.