By Hani Na’eem – @hani_eem
As everything he touches turns into gold – or goals rather – Sadio Mané is in the form of his life.
Liverpool’s No.10 has reached 17 Premier League goals for the first time, and his brace against Bayern in midweek, followed by the opener at Fulham, offers a lot of hope for the dreaming Reds.
At a time when Mohamed Salah is still struggling to find the net again, the Senegalese emerges as Liverpool’s most important player up-front.
Much has been said about Salah’s performances of late. The Egyptian has put in a number of poor shifts recently and, in other matches, his good performances were limited because of the constant awareness of defenders towards him after being identified as Liverpool’s main danger man from last season.
When all is said and done, however, the undeniable fact is that Salah’s contribution in terms of goals has reached a low point since his arrival at Liverpool – it’s the first time the Egyptian King has gone seven consecutive games without scoring.
Thankfully for Klopp and his team, Mané has hit the form of his life since the turn of the year to offer much needed attacking threat.
The forward has shown impressive consistency after a dry patch to catch up with the likes of Sergio Aguero and teammate Salah at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.
The Senegalese had scored only two goals in November and December and was missing all sorts of chances but, since January, he found his scoring boots, netting on 11 occasions and scoring in six consecutive home league games for Liverpool as well as earning three braces in his last five outings.
The Reds seemingly still miss the attacking threat of last season, and the lack of goals coming from midfield always meant the reliance on the front three to produce strikes is huge.
It comes as no surprise, then, that Liverpool have struggled with a couple of draws recently when top scorer Salah and Brazilian Roberto Firmino have both scored only three goals in their last 11 matches for Liverpool.
All of this means Mané’s excellent recent form has been something of a savior for Liverpool’s title chances both domestically and in Europe. The Senegalese has scored 10 goals in his last 10 matches for the club and has been by far the team’s top performer in front.
Salah and Firmino aren’t necessarily performing badly, and Klopp will be hoping they will start finding the net sooner rather than later. Until then, however, Mané’s brilliance will be all too important for Liverpool.