'He didn't have the love': Ex-Liverpool man blames Jurgen Klopp for Sadio Mane exit

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Sadio Mane during a pre-season friendly against Stuttgart in Saalfelden, Austria on 20 July, 2021
(Image credit: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp was to blame for Sadio Mane's decision to leave Liverpool (opens in new tab) this summer – according to former Reds midfielder Salif Diao.

Mane told the club after last season's Champions League final loss to Real Madrid (opens in new tab) that he wanted to move on; he completed a £35m switch to Bayern Munich (opens in new tab) in June.

The forward's exit didn't appear acrimonious, but Diao has suggested that all was not entirely well at Anfield for his Senegalese compatriot.

Salif Diao celebrates after scoring the fourth goal for Liverpool in their 5-0 Champions League win against Spartak Moscow at Anfield in October 2002

Diao made 61 appearances for the Reds between 2002 and 2005, scoring three goals (Image credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Diao – who joined the Reds after helping Senegal (opens in new tab) to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup – said (opens in new tab):

"I think he has been here for a [while] and I think at some point, he thought he did not have the love that he needed really, here at Anfield.

"I'm not talking about the fans; for him, I think it was more with the manager.

"Things weren't really going on as they should be, so that's why he decided to go for a new challenge. I think as a top player, every time you stay four to five years at a top club, sometimes it's good to go for a new challenge."

Mane has made a solid start to life ay Bayern, scoring five goals in his first 11 appearances for the Bundesliga champions.

The 30-year-old was also on target as Senegal continued their preparations for the World Cup 2022 on Friday with a 2-0 friendly win over Bolivia in Orleans, France.

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