Liverpool: 3 possible X-Factors against West Brom

Liverpool, Roberto Firmino (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Liverpool, Roberto Firmino (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) /
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Sadio Mane, Liverpool
Sadio Mane, Liverpool (Photo by Nick Potts – Pool/Getty Images) /

How Sadio Mane responds after benching

It looks like Sadio Mane will start on Matchday 36 after sitting on the bench against Manchester United for Diogo Jota, who scored a brilliant backheel in the 4-2 victory. Mane’s struggles have been well-documented this season, especially recently. The 29-year-old has scored just three Premier League goals in 2021, which is well below his usual standard.

Despite the struggles in front of goal, Mane is still important to Liverpool. Like Roberto Firmino in the middle, Mane impacts the game in so many ways outside of scoring. He is averaging 1.6 key passes per game and 2.5 dribbles completed per game, in addition to drawing 2.2 fouls per match.

So while it’s fair to be disappointed that Mane isn’t playing at a world-class level for Liverpool, we have to be careful not to exaggerate. Or, perhaps worse yet, to read into any of his reactions to Jurgen Klopp after the manager went with Jota against Manchester United.

3 things for Liverpool to look forward to against West Brom. dark. Next

Klopp may have even lit a fire under Mane, who could tear apart West Brom’s defense this Sunday afternoon. We know he is 100 percent capable. Talent, work ethic, knowledge of the game, team chemistry, none of that has been a question with Mane.

With the season on the line, I wonder if we will see Mane wake up, as Firmino did in front of goal on Thursday, at the Hawthorns.