Pressing machine Sadio Mané once again the star turn in stellar Anfield show

The Senegal international continued to show his world class quality in a relentless performance against Arsenal. SCOTT MASON reports.

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A 3-1 win at home against the Gunners continued Liverpool’s perfect start to the Premier League season. Strikes from Sadio Mané, Andrew Robertson and Premier League debutant Diogo Jota secured maximum points for the defending champions.

The first half was one of the most dominant performances a Liverpool team had produced under Jürgen Klopp’s tenure to date. The Reds were pressing from the front, pinning back Mikel Arteta’s side at every opportunity. Even when Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal ahead, many doubted that the North London side could hold on under the relentless pressure from this special Liverpool side. 

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Man-of-the-match Sadio Mané was a key part of this fabulous display. He was explosive, sharp and pressing the Arsenal defenders into consistent mistakes. This pressing was a key feature of his performance, ending the game with two successful tackles along with a key interception.  

Liverpool’s No.10 was heavily praised for his opening 30 minutes of work. This effort deserved a reward and after 28 minutes that’s what he received. After Mohamed Salah showed excellent wing play to roll Kieran Tierney, his strike was pushed away by Gunners keeper Bernd Leno. Unfortunately for the German shot stopper, he was unable to parry the ball away from danger. Instead he directed it towards the far post where the Senegalese international was ready to pounce on the easy tap-in.

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After his goal the forward continued to cause serious problems for Arteta’s men. The 28-year-old finished with five shots, the most out of any player on the pitch. With one of these strikes, Mané could have easily had a second goal. After a one-two with Roberto Firmino, the African player of the year swivelled to strike a shot narrowly wide of the target from ten yards out. 

The former Southampton man wasn’t just a goalscoring threat, he was creating openings too. He finished the game with two chances created – only Trent Alexander-Arnold (3) managed more than the winger. These chances were created on the back of his successful dribbling stats, as he managed more dribbles (2) than anyone else. 

With Liverpool only one goal up, Klopp surprisingly substituted the Red’s most dangerous threat. Sadio Mané was replaced by eventual goal scorer Diogo Jota with 80 minutes played. The prolific forwards performance was the perfect example of the constant pressure and energy that is expected from Reds players, with no passengers allowed. 

Liverpool will once again face Arsenal on Thursday evening in the Carabao Cup. Sadio Mané is unlikely to feature at Anfield, with the Klopp usually opting to rest his strongest side in the early rounds of the cup competitions. This is unfortunate for fans but understandable with the congested fixture list this season. We will now have to patiently wait until Sunday tea time before the Senegal international is unleashed once again.

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