Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk has voiced his thoughts on his former team mate Senegal forward Sadio Mane’s injury heartbreak, who is now one of Bayern Munich’s star players this season.
‘’I am very sorry that Sadio misses the match against us because this World Cup simply deserves the best players, Sadio is clearly one of them, Sadio is world class, he is my friend and I will miss him.’’
Virgil Van Dijk and Sadio Mane won a total of 6 trophies together during their time at Liverpool including a historic Premier League title in mid-2020, ending Liverpool’s 29 year wait for a league title to return to Anfield.
The season previous Van Dijk assisted Mane who scored at the Allianz Arena against German champions Bayern Munich on Liverpool’s way to a victorious Champions League campaign in 2018/19. It was an absolutely sublime long-ball pass delivered by Van Dijk from the opposite side of the pitch, which Mane then brilliantly controlled with an exquisite first touch. Mane managed to catch the Bayern defence and goalkeeper off guard side stepping Manuel Neuer before placing the ball into the back of the net putting the travelling side 1-0 up in the tie. Liverpool went onto to win 3-1 across both legs of the Champions League last 16 tie advancing to quarter finals of the competition.
After winning their first Champions League trophy since 2005 with Van Dijk and Mane playing integral parts, Liverpool went onto become the first English side to win the international treble collecting the European Super Cup after defeating Chelsea on penalties with Mane finding the net twice scoring in normal time in the 48thminute and also in extra time in the 95th.
Liverpool gained their first ever Club World Cup Championship the following December placing their name in their own club’s history and English football history.
By the end of the 2021/22 season Van Dijk and Mane had League Cup and FA Cup medals to their name defeating Chelsea on penalty shootouts on both occasions, with Van Dijk scoring his penalty in the Carabao Cup final which Liverpool won due to a sudden death penalty miss from Chelsea’s goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Despite Mane missing his penalty in the FA Cup final which was saved by fellow Senegalese Edouard Mendy, the Reds managed to come out as the winners in the shootout, which meant Liverpool winning their first domestic cup double since 2001.
It is safe to say the Senegal and Netherlands internationals have most certainly placed their names in Liverpool’s history books together under the reign of Jurgen Klopp.