By Dave Davis – @DaveD0106
“Every single season we progress and that is positive for us. That’s why we train hard every single day, to learn a lot, to get better and better. It’s positive and now we are going to go for something special with the club” – Sadio Mane on Liverpool’s progression
Sadio Mane has been in a bullish mood this week and it’s clear the former Southampton man feels the club could achieve something special.
From an individual perspective though, it’s been a mixed season for the 26-year- old and it’s fair to say it’s not been his most prolific period at Anfield. Success doesn’t depend on Mane by any means. It’d be far more preferable if he can get his groove back though.
The start of the campaign looked like it could be one where the Senegalese forward stepped up to another level. Four games into the Premier League season and Mane had just as many goals.
As Liverpool’s style under Jurgen Klopp began to evolve, the likes of West Ham, Leicester and Crystal Palace found it didn’t appear to be having any affect on the player who’d scored our only goal in the Champions League final.
Working in tandem with Andy Robertson down the left hand side, Mane proved a crucial cog and source of goals as others speculated around Salah’s potential spout of second season syndrome.
In recent times, the story looks slightly different. Despite the celebration of a newly signed contract extension in November, goals and assists have been few and far between. With only two goals in his last eleven Premier League games, Mane has seemed out of sorts for a while despite many predicting the contract situation to be a real boost for the number ten.
Overtaken by Robertson in the assist stakes, Mane has seen both Salah and Firmino overhaul him in the goal scoring charts, with Salah now eight ahead. That alone doesn’t render anyone poor, but many Reds have been wondering about his form lately.
There have been flashes at times, which all Liverpool fans would have hoped would lead to a permanent upturn. In recent big games, a goal against Arsenal capped a fine performance by the £36 million man. More notable however was the opening goal against Manchester United at Anfield which involved exquisite control and a classy finish.
Leaving Ander Herrera on his backside, whilst playing a huge part in Shaqiri’s first that day was another flash of brilliance. The sad thing is that despite whatever’s being worked on at a Melwood, flashes is the best we’ve seen in recent times.
Hard work, effort and positional sense have been there throughout the campaign and it’s clear Liverpool look a better side with Mane starting. Opposition defences will always fear players with raw pace and the acceleration the 26-year-old possesses.
That being said, Jurgen Klopp will be hoping that it ‘clicks’ again for one of his big players as the business end of the season appears ever closer on the horizon.
Sadio Mane is one of those players who could have a big say in what, if any, success is tasted this season. If it is to be something special for Liverpool, actions need to start matching words.