Wednesday 7 December 2016

Liverpool fans are in for a treat judging by Philippe Coutinho's comments on Sadio Mane

Tom Rooney

Published 25/07/2016 | 13:02

Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane
Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has admitted to being initially caught off guard by the searing pace of recent recruit Sadio Mane, but believes they are already building a potent rapport.

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Since the opening of the summer transfer window, the overhaul at Anfield has been swift and vast.

The acquisitions of Dutch attacker Georginio Wijnaldum from Newcastle and Austrian goalkeeper Alex Manninger late last week were the fifth and sixth signings of the month for the Reds, while no less than nine players going the other way.

Indeed, Marko Grujić, who was bought from Red Star Belgrade last January before being loaned back to the Serbian club, has also been blooded in during pre-season.

Furthermore, Jurgen Klopp is thought to want to add a left back to the roster as he rebuilds the squad he inhered from Brendan Rodgers last October.

The purchase of Mane from Southampton for £34m was an unexpected if welcome development on Merseyside and, according to Coutinho, the Senegalese forward is assimilating favorably. However, the Brazilian claimed to be slightly thrown by Mane's acceleration.

“It’s been very good playing with Sadio so far, but if anything he’s too fast! That’s good because you need this in your game. Everyone is very happy with him – he is a nice guy and very good player,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.

Liverpool are currently in California, where they will meet Chelsea (Wednesday) and AC Milan (Saturday) in the International Champions Cup this week.

For fans of the Reds, it will certainly be interesting to see how Klopp deploys the raft of dynamic and industrious talent at his disposal in the final third.

With the addition of Mane and Wijnaldum, there is also the likes of  Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Danny Ings and, of course, Coutinho, to be considered.

Sturridge, Origi and Ings would likely occupy central roles but the German coach favours versatility in his offensive charges.

According to Coutinho, such a wealth of options will ensure no negligence creeps into the new-look group.

“They’re both very good players and fast players,” he said of Mane and Wijnaldum.

“So maybe you can pass a long ball and they’ll arrive to it. But it’s not only them, the squad is very good and there are a lot of good players. I hope we can all do a good job together this year.

“There are a lot of players now and there is good competition in the squad, which helps you to get better and helps the team.”

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