Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson was shocked at Liverpool’s decision to sell Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich last summer - and believes that may have contributed to the Reds’ underwhelming start to the Premier League campaign.
Saturday’s shock home defeat to Leeds United - their first at Anfield since March 2021 - left Jurgen Klopp’s side ninth in the top-flight table after the opening 12 matches, eight points off the top four and 15 behind league leaders Arsenal.
While Liverpool have beaten champions Manchester City and hit nine past Bournemouth this term, as well as top their Champions League group, Klopp’s men have dropped points against the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest in recent weeks.
That has led to speculation over Klopp’s future as manager, however Wilson has dismissed talk that the German should leave Merseyside and has backed the Reds to come through a tough period, which includes adapting to life without Mane.
Wilson told the BBC Footballer’s Football Podcast: “With a manager that has been in charge for so long, he’s done unbelievable for the football club. Football is too quick to jump on the bandwagon of ‘is it time to change the manager’. Everyone, even in general life, have ups and downs. If you’re not going to stick with someone in their downs, don’t get on the bandwagon when they’re on the up.
“When I saw Liverpool were selling (Sadio) Mane in the summer, I was actually a little bit shocked. Out of the front three, Mane wouldn’t have been my choice to be sold at that time because when you play against Liverpool, he’s the one you think ‘if he’s on it, he can destory you single-handedly’. That’s probably a missing piece of the jigsaw at the minute.
“When you are changing players like Mane to (Darwin) Nunez and different players that are coming in, they might not have had Klopp for that period of time yet where they understand what’s expected of you. We’re only 13 or 14 games into the season, we’re still early in the season and I think the break will probably help Liverpool recharge.
“They’re going to be in and around the top four, they’re not going to have this dip for long. Manchester United were down near the relegation zone and all of a sudden they’re in the top six. Liverpool still has time to recover.”
Wilson was sidelined when Newcastle suffered their only defeat of the season so far in a controversial defeat at Anfield after Liverpool scored an injury-time winner. Alexander Isak, currently out with a thigh injury, scored on his debut following his club-record move from Real Sociedad.