The Senegal international helped kickstart Klopp’s Anfield revolution upon his arrival from Southampton six years ago and played a key role in the success the club have enjoyed in recent seasons.
Despite his importance to Klopp and Liverpool, the lure of a fresh challenge has been too much for Mane to resist and his move to Bayern Munich was officially confirmed on Wednesday.
Liverpool have already moved to offset Mane’s departure by spending a club-record fee on Darwin Nunez, but Klopp insists the departure of such a popular player will be felt on many levels.
He said: ‘One of Liverpool’s greatest ever players is leaving and we must acknowledge how significant this is. He leaves with our gratitude and our love.
‘And, yes, he leaves in a moment where he is one of the best players in world football.
‘I respect completely his decision and I’m sure our supporters do also. If you love LFC, you have to love Sadio – non-negotiable.
‘It is possible to do this while accepting our loss is Bayern’s gain.
‘We wish him nothing but success in every match he plays in, unless, of course, it’s against us. His star will continue to rise, I have no doubts.’
On the standards that Mane set, Klopp added: ‘Since he first stepped through the door, he made us better.
‘If someone had told us in that moment what he would go on to contribute and achieve for this club, I’m not sure it would have been possible to comprehend in that moment. Not the scale of it at least. Sadio made it all possible.
‘To be that good for such a sustained period and continuously improve season on season – no matter how high he set his own bar in the previous one – is an example to any player anywhere on the planet that professionalism and dedication leads to reward.’
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