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Sadio Mane’s new shirt number at Liverpool all stems from the World Cup

There was a Philippe Coutinho-shaped hole on the number 10 shirt

Here’s one for you, Sadio Mane will be Liverpool’s topscorer this season.

Did you keep a straight face? Because I’m not joking.

While Mo Salah grabs all the headlines and everyone is fawning over Roberto Firmino’s over-underrated profile, Mane was low-key Liverpool’s best player at the end of last season.

Never forget, chat s*** get banged

AFP or licensors
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Never forget, chat s*** get banged

And most dangerous striker. 

Don’t forget he scored the Reds’ only goal in the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Then he had a pretty solid World Cup with Senegal, despite the Lions of Teranga failing to make it out of a difficult group.

With Philippe Coutinho departing for Barcelona in January there was an opening for Liverpool’s famed number 10 shirt.

And Mane snapped it up before Salah or Firmino had returned from their summer holidays.

By why would a lightning quick left winger want to wear the shirt usually associated with the team’s most creative player – the Lionel Messis and Juan Roman Riquelmes of this world?

Well it all stems from his time away with Senegal in Russia.

Top kit

Reuters
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Top kit

Mane plays in the 10 role for his country and sees himself as a budding creator in the middle of the park.

Now he’s decided to take Coutinho’s number at club level, could this be trying to get Jurgen Klopp to deploy him as the club’s 10?

As Chris Bascombe divulged in The Telegraphthe club were looking for a number 10 all summer but all they needed to do was look a bit closer up front.

Especially now it looks like Nabil Fekir definitely won’t be swapping Lyon for Liverpool.

The Mane man

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The Mane man

Mane is the biggest star in Senegal’s team and it is no surprise he is saddled with the responsibility of inspiring the players.

But has he got what’s required to fill Coutinho’s boots at Liverpool?

Probably not, but then again Coutinho isn’t the only Brazilian he would be trying to replicate with his new shirt number.

Mane is said to have idolised Ronaldinho throughout his career and the legendary ponytailed Brazilian always wore the number 10 shirt – even when he was sharing a pitch with Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

Mane has become an expert at copying celebrations, but can he copy other living footballers?

Lets find out this season.