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Mane deserved Messi's vote: Klopp

 

Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes forward Sadio Mane can challenge Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or in years to come.

The Senegal international has been in sensational form in 2019 and actually won Messi's vote in FIFA's Best awards in September.

However, he finished fourth in the Ballon d'Or stakes behind the Barcelona forward, team-mate Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi said it was "a shame" Mane finished fourth but Klopp does not expect that to be the case for much longer.

"Sadio is in incredible shape. Since the first day he came in he has been an incredibly important player," said the Reds boss. "I can still remember his first goal, the Arsenal goal: running down the line, cutting inside and with the next step left-foot into the far corner.

"An incredible goal. And each year he made big steps and is in a good way.

"For an offensive player, when Messi says something like this... Sadio, especially against Barcelona at home, was very impressive, it was like we had three of him on the pitch.

"If he stays healthy he will have an incredible career in front of him and I think he can climb in that Ballon d'Or table.

Mane is Liverpool's top scorer this season with 13 and at times was unplayable in the midweek Merseyside derby win over Everton which restored their eight-point lead at the top of the table.

Victory at Bournemouth, who have lost the last four, guarantees Klopp's side are top at Christmas. The Reds have been top at this stage three times before but are the only club not to have gone on and won the title.

"I've told you often enough I'm not interested in these numbers," said Klopp. "We need to be lucky that players stay fit and healthy. These are things which worry us."

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