The Premier League season may be over but there’s still plenty of intrigue in the transfer window so we’ve traded Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich for Football Manager 2022 to see how Liverpool fare without the Senegalese international.
Liverpool, of course, endured a difficult end to the season, finishing runners-up in the Premier League on the final day and losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have won the FA Cup and the League Cup but you have to bear in mind that the season has been a bit disappointing.
There is a real question as to how Liverpool will fare without Mane given he was previously part of a fabled front three alongside Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
That’s why we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to transfer Mane to Bayern and then took a close look at how Liverpool managed without him.
Where did Liverpool finish in the league?
It’s a terrible deja vu feeling, isn’t it?
However, Jurgen Klopp’s side were a good distance away from eventual champions Manchester City as this was anything but the title race that was happening in real life that season.
Liverpool finished the season with 84 points, 18 behind Pep Guardiola’s men.
Liverpool have been remarkably inconsistent compared to this season, losing six times in the league and drawing six times.
They lost to City twice while also losing to Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Wolves.
The draws came against Crystal Palace, Southampton, Newcastle United and West Ham, along with two draws against Manchester United.
Did Liverpool replace Mane?
The only player they signed in the summer was Noussair Mazraoui, a right-back who joined from Ajax for £19m.
In January they signed Brazilian striker Pedro from Fluminese.
Liverpool haven’t done everything they can to sign a new winger and that makes sense given that Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz are both in the club’s squad.
Did other players level up?
Luis Diaz has been exceptional throughout the season, making 39 starts in all competitions, scoring 12 goals and providing six assists.
Jota made 16 starts and came off the bench 30 times, so he wasn’t promoted to an integral role, but he still scored 12 goals and provided four assists.
Elsewhere, Salah has scored an impressive 27 goals in all competitions and Firmino has scored 14.
They all stepped in when needed.
How have Liverpool fared in other competitions?
Without Mane, Liverpool remained trophyless.
They reached the FA Cup final but lost 2-0 to Manchester City in the showpiece at Wembley.
In the League Cup, they lost 1-0 to Aston Villa in the fourth round, a disappointing performance in a tournament they won in real life this season.
In Europe it was again a déjà vu. We’re sorry to say, dear Reds fans, but they lost 3-1 on aggregate to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.
A poor showing from Klopp’s men who are used to winning, or at least reaching the final, in pretty much every major competition they enter.
How did Mane do?
Now it should be said that we didn’t load the Bundesliga as a playable league for this simulation, but Mane’s influence is clearly visible.
He made 37 appearances for the Bundesliga giants across all competitions, scoring 15 goals while also providing three assists.
Bayern won the Bundesliga in its first season and also won the DFB-Pokal.
In addition, the German side reached the Champions League final; To get there they have beaten Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Manchester City.
But the final went a step too far as Mane was heartbroken again as they lost 1-0 to Real Madrid after extra time.
So it’s fair to say that Mane had a far more successful season at Bayern than at Liverpool.
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