Jürgen Klopp has backed Liverpool forward Sadio Mané to break into the Ballon d'Or's top three over the next few years, having placed fourth in this year's rankings.

The Senegal international was Liverpool's second-highest player in the Ballon d'Or - Virgil van Dijk only finished behind eventual winner Lionel Messi - and was the club's fourth in the top 10.

While it might be Mohamed Salah who grabs the headlines more often on Merseyside, Klopp is confident that Mané can finish even higher in next year's Ballon d'Or.


Asked if Liverpool star Mané is still underrated, via the Teleg​raph, Klopp said: "Internally, of course not. Across the world? I am not sure.

"The first three in the Ballon d’Or were Messi, van Dijk, Cristiano and then Sadio. That is a nice row. Having two players in there shows a lot. Mo [Salah] was fifth, Alisson seventh. So we obviously played a good season and they had to respect that.

"Sadio is in incredible shape. Since his first day he was an incredibly important player. I remember his goal against Arsenal, running down the line, cutting inside and then with the next step with the left foot in the far corner.

"Each year he has made big steps and he is on a good way. I saw that [Franco] Baresi was really positive about Virgil - one of the biggest defenders I can imagine. This is kind of like being crowned by the king, and as an offensive player if Messi says something like this about Sadio then..."

Klopp highlighted Mané's performance in the Champions League semi-final last season as being particularly good, insisting that should he stay fit in the years to come, he'll be contending for Ballon d'Or crowns on a regular basis.

He added: "Sadio, especially in the game against Barcelona, was really impressive. It was like we had three of him on the pitch and he kept that shape. 

"If he stays healthy he will have an incredible career in front of him and he can climb that table Ballon d’Or wise. He is in a very good way and I am really happy for him."

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