Liverpool completed the £30m Sadio Mane deal earlier in the week, the most expensive transfer Jurgen Klopp’s ever been involved in.
The Senegalese flyer will wear the no.19 shirt after impressing for Southampton for two seasons since his move from Austria.
At Red Bull Salzburg Mane scored 45 goals in under 100 games, and notched 25 in 75 matches for the Saints – very impressive for someone playing either on the flanks or in attacking midfield…
But this statistic which has emerged arguably explains Klopp’s admiration for Mane just as much.
The 24-year-old made 35 interceptions last term, 15 more than the highest Liverpool player Adam Lallana, who stole the ball on just 20 occasions.
Sadio Mane made 35 interceptions in the Premier League last season, more than Lallana (20), Coutinho (17) & Firmino (16).
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) June 29, 2016
One of Klopp’s primary attacking tactics is for his offensive players to win the ball up high through pressing; with the aim of launching a quick counter-attack close to the opposition goal.
The fact Mane is expert at stealing possession in these positions, as well as finding the back of the net, suits ‘gegenpressing’ perfectly.
Whether Mane’s used wide or centrally, he’ll be able to press with his fellow attacking midfielders and provide the opportunity of a quick turnaround.
We were surprised to see this statistic in all honesty, as we’d heard little regarding Mane’s defensive contribution to date – but this is genuinely as exciting as his goal tally.