Opinion: Sadio Mane has peaked at the right time
Liverpool defeated Cardiff City 4-1 at Anfield on Saturday in the Premier League. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane starred for the Reds with the former scoring one and set up three goals while the latter netted two himself. Salah also set up a ball for new signing Xherdan Shaqiri to score.
The revival of Mohamed Salah has been fascinating and the way he has come back from a goal drought is something that is very commendable. Sadio Mane, too missed out on playing time last week, thanks to a hand injury he suffered in the international break, but netted two delightful goals on his return. The Senegalese footballer, in the process, became only the first from his country to score 50 Premier League goals.
Liverpool is built around the marvelous front three of Mane, Roberto Firmino and Salah. Once the three of them find form, it will be mightily difficult to stop the Reds. This was not the case at the beginning of the season when only one or at most two clicked collectively. What is important for the Reds to succeed is for all three of them to bring each other into play and remain strong with the ball. Mane, however, is someone who is comfortable without it too.
The Reds are first in the League now although Manchester City have not played their game this week and Sadio Mane has played a big role in that. The left winger has been especially quick on the flank and brought the rest of the attackers into the game effortlessly.
Mane has accuracy while passing and can take the baton over from either James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum or Jordan Henderson whenever they give the ball into the attacking third. He can bring Salah and Firmino into play and let them score goals selflessly. What is heartening to see is how much he loves wearing the Liverpool shirt and gives his best day in and day out.
Jurgen Klopp has instilled a need for attackers to come back and defend when the need arises and Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane do that unfailingly. The latter does it wearing his heart on his sleeve and protects the others from harm. When given the ball at a scoring position, there is not even a whiff of a doubt in Mane's mind as to how he is going to finish.
He has peaked at the right time and Liverpool will be hoping that he can carry this form if they are to have any chance of giving Manchester City a run for their money for the title.