Mane has brought a hugely successful six-year stay at Anfield to an end after completing a £35 million move to the Bundesliga champions. The forward was one of Klopp’s first signings in 2016 and scored 120 goals in 269 appearances for the Reds and goes down as a “legend” according to the German manager.
“It’s a big moment. There is no point in anyone trying to pretend otherwise,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website. “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. He leaves with his status among the greats guaranteed. 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.”
Mane won the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, Club World Cup and Super Cup at Liverpool and leaves as the 14th top scorer in the club’s history. Mane, 30, had one year remaining on his Liverpool contract.
“We must not dwell on what we now lose, instead celebrate what we were privileged to have,” Klopp added. “The goals he scored, the trophies he won; a legend, for sure, but also a modern-day Liverpool icon.
“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.”