EXCLUSIVE: Downing urges Reds to replace Mane with Son
Stewart Downing believes Liverpool should make an audacious move for Tottenham forward Heung-Min Son if Sadio Mane leaves this summer.
Mane, 30, has been strongly tipped to depart Anfield, which would leave Reds boss Jurgen Klopp in need of reinforcements up front.
The Senegalese international has been a key component in Klopp's front three since arriving from Southampton in 2016, scoring 23 goals last season as the Merseysiders won the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
And ex-Liverpool winger Downing, 37, thinks Spurs forward Son, who shared the 2021-22 Premier League Golden Boot award with Kop hero Mohamed Salah, would be an ideal addition for his old club.
Downing said: "They should try and get Son from Tottenham. I think he would be amazing for Liverpool.
"It’s not going to be easy to get him and he would probably cost a lot of money."
While undoubtedly an outstanding candidate after netting 23 league goals last term, the fact Tottenham will play Champions League football next season makes the South Korean a difficult target to secure.
West Ham and England forward Jarrod Bowen and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele have also been linked with the Reds.
And Downing added: "While I think Liverpool have already got good players who can step up, it might take some time [to replace Mane].
"I’ve seen Bowen linked. I think he’s a bit different to Mane, he does a bit more work off the ball.
"Dembele was also linked. I think he would be the one because you want pace as that’s how Liverpool play.
"Maybe Klopp will take a chance on one of those players.
"But you’ve got to fit his style — it's not only about who’s doing well for their clubs.
"For me, it would probably be Dembele or Son. But Son will be difficult to take from Spurs."
While a superb campaign overall for Klopp’s men, last term ended on somewhat of a sour note.
After missing out on the Premier League title by one point to Manchester City on the final day, they were beaten 1-0 by Real Madrid in the Champions League final a week later.
But Downing, who made 91 appearances for the Reds between 2011 and 2013, thinks those disappointments will inspire them to challenge for an unprecedented Quadruple once again next season.
The 35-cap England international, who will dust off his boots to take part in Soccer Aid on Sunday, said: "They made a late push for the league last season and only missed out by one point, so they’ll want to start quicker.
"They’ll want to get points on the board because City are strengthening. Chelsea will probably strengthen now with the takeover. Tottenham will get better under [Antonio] Conte.
"Liverpool will have to make a good start and that should make them want to push on.
"It’s a quick turnaround for the new season but hopefully they can get a few players and Mane stays. If he does leave, they'll need to get a replacement in for him quick.
"They’ll be itching to do well in the league and particularly the Champions League because I think that was a missed opportunity."
Bayern Munich appear the most likely destination for Mane, who has a year remaining on his Liverpool deal.
The Reds have reportedly rejected a bid of £30million from the Bundesliga champions but are likely to sell eventually to avoid losing him for free in a year's time.
Liverpool's sole piece of summer business so far has been the capture of Fulham starlet Fabio Carvalho, 19, who will provide competition in Klopp’s attacking ranks.
The Anfield club are also set to embark on a bidding war with Manchester United to land the signature of Uruguay and Benfica striker Darwin Nunez.
Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022 takes place on Sunday at the London Stadium. Donations can be made at www.socceraid.org.uk/donate, with each one doubled — up to £4million — thanks to The Power of Nutrition.