Mané’s Liverpool future in balance ahead of European final
PARIS (AP) — Sadio Mané’s last game for Liverpool could be on Saturday in the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
The Senegal international’s future was a hot topic on Friday when Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp held his pre-match news conference at Stade de France in Paris.
Klopp was unwilling to make any guarantees about Mané staying at Liverpool, amid reported interest from German champion Bayern Munich.
“This is the wrong moment to speak about that,” Klopp said. “Wherever Sadio will play next season, he will be a big player, definitely.”
Mané, who has been at Liverpool since 2016 and has a year left on his deal, teased this week that he “will answer after the Champions League (final) if I’m staying or not.”
“Come back to me on Saturday,” Mané added in an interview with Sky Sports, “and I will give you the best answer you want to hear, for sure. It’s special.”
Klopp seemed irritated that stories about Mané’s future have come up before the Champions League final and suggested it might have something to do with him being the former coach of Borussia Dortmund — the biggest title rival of Bayern Munich in Germany.
“It’s not the first time in my career that before a decisive game, Bayern Munich rumors are coming up,” Klopp said. “I don’t know what I did. It happens.”
Klopp also expressed his surprise that a new playing surface had been laid at the Stade de France late Thursday, barely two days before the biggest match in European club soccer.
Paris is a replacement host for the game, with Saint Petersburg — where it was initially scheduled to be played — stripped of hosting rights after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The field has been belatedly relaid because there were concerts staged at the stadium last weekend.
“Obviously not the best news for both teams. I have no idea how it will be,” Klopp said.
“If somebody thought it was a good idea to bring the pitch the day before the game, it’s an interesting idea, to be honest. But it didn’t kill my mood a percent. I’m really happy we were here — we would have played on a pétanque (surface).”
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Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80