Andy Robertson might be ruing Liverpool’s lack of transfer activity over the past couple of seasons at around 2: 30pm on Saturday.
That’s because there’s a chance Watford winger Ismaila Sarr has just run him ragged for 90 minutes and, if things had been different, he might have been playing alongside the 23-year-old, not against him.
The Reds, along with plenty of other clubs over the last couple of years, have been linked with Sarr, who Watford bought from Rennes for around £27million in 2019.
His first season in England saw him score five goals (two of which were against Liverpool, to end their unbeaten season) and provide six assists in the Premier League, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the Hornets from suffering relegation to the Championship.
It looked like Sarr would leave the Hornets after their relegation, with a cut-price deal to Anfield reportedly on the cards.
But a move didn’t materialise that summer and, despite 13 goals and 10 assists in the second-tier last season, Sarr still remained at Watford.
The former Metz man has started this season in similarly good form, with four goals in his opening seven games, and, whatever Liverpool were going to pay last summer, you can double it now.
It’s not just been Sarr’s goals – his dribbling and pace make him an absolute nightmare to defend.
Four of the seven left-backs that have gone head-to-head with Sarr this season have been booked, with Aston Villa’s Matt Targett even getting hauled off at half-time due to his inability to stop the winger.
If this isn’t enough of a warning for Robertson, I’m sure the Watford man’s Senegal teammate, Sadio Mane, is reminding the Scotsman how dangerous he is.
Mane, who played alongside Sarr throughout the international break, told The Athletic in 2019: “He’s rapid. I think defenders will struggle.
“Last time I was speaking to Robbo, I said, ‘Watford have a really good player. I will need to help you more otherwise Ismaila Sarr will kill you because he is a good dribbler and very, very fast’.”
Mane, who could have potentially been teammates with Sarr for club and country, clearly has a good relationship with the youngster and, after the Reds’ win at Anfield, told then-Watford captain Troy Deeney to “take care” of him.
That’s now Claudio Ranieri’s job, after the Italian took charge at Watford before the international break.
The former Leicester boss, who famously won the Premier League with the Foxes, will undoubtedly be keen to work with Sarr.
And you’d imagine that’s reciprocated, if he looks at what Ranieri did with Riyad Mahrez during their time at the King Power Stadium.
Now at Manchester City after his £61m move from Leicester, Mahrez scored 17 goals and provided 10 assists under Ranieri’s stewardship when they won the title in 2015-16.
The Algerian was also nominated for the Ballon d’Or, as well as scooping the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and BBC African Footballer of the Year awards.
Sarr will be hoping the 71-year-old can use the same magic he used on Mahrez on him – but he better be careful if he’s still thinking about that transfer to Liverpool.
The summer before his move to City, Ranieri joked that he would “throttle” Mahrez if he asked for a move away from the club.
Although, even if Ranieri wanted to do that to Sarr, there’s absolutely no way he’d catch him…