Liverpool: ‘Evidence no. 419’ Sadio Mane underwhelms again

Sadio Mane, Liverpool (Photo by Paul Ellis - Pool/Getty Images)
Sadio Mane, Liverpool (Photo by Paul Ellis - Pool/Getty Images) /

Liverpool star Sadio Mane was poor in the first half of the Reds’ Premier League game against Wolves on Monday night.

Despite the Senegal international’s best efforts, Jurgen Klopp’s side took a 1-0 lead into half-time thanks to a strike from Molineux old boy Diogo Jota.

Mane has experienced a tough campaign as his sparkling toes, beaming smile and sky-high confidence have taken turns to desert the African star.

Sadio Mane looks like a shadow of his former self

He spurned several excellent chances in the first half alone, which led to criticism from some Liverpool fans and concern from others.

Will we see the old Mane again this season? It appears as if he’ll have to slog his way through the rest of the campaign, especially as Klopp has no natural left-sided replacement for the ex-Southampton man.

Jota has been preferred through the middle as Roberto Firmino has been axed, while Takumi Minamino is currently on loan with the Saints.

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Divock Origi could replace Mane, theoretically, but despite his decent performance against RB Leipzig last week, nobody is calling for the Belgian to feature prominently as we count down to the season’s end.

Liverpool have nobody else

Mane hasn’t scored since he netted against Spurs in January – a barren run of six fixtures (not including the Wolves clash). Prior to his only strike of 2021, the Senegal forward went four matches without hitting the back of the net.

That was put to bed thanks to consecutive goals against Crystal Palace and West Brom. But even that run of strikes was preceded with eight games without netting.

Perhaps we should be kinder to Mane and Firmino. The pair have been asked to play an inhumane amount of football over the past 24 months, and each time they take to the field we expect the same insane levels of performance.

Maybe it’s only natural that players would fatigue, mentally and physically, and struggle to keep standards high. But even so, Mane is missing chances he’d normally bury and while Liverpool have no replacement waiting in the wings, it’s a serious problem.