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What has happened to Sadio Mane? Liverpool’s most consistent player now a pale shadow of himself

Liverpool
Liverpool's Sadio Mane is going through a patchy form.
ANALYST
Modified 26 Apr 2021
Feature

For the first time in his career at Liverpool, Sadio Mane does not have the full support of the club’s fans. This is because the Senegal international is currently going through a patchy run of form.

On Saturday, the club’s fanbase was once again divided following yet another uninspiring performance from their number 10 against Newcastle United.

Sadio Mane has been a good servant to Liverpool since joining the club in the summer of 2016 from Southampton. He has helped the club win multiple trophies during his four-and-a-half-year stint at Anfield.

The 29-year-old played an instrumental role as Liverpool won the Premier League, the Champions League, the World Club Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. However, Sadio Mane has been a pale shadow of himself this season.

The significant drop in Sadio Mane’s output

Liverpool’s struggles this season have been down to a drop in form of several players. Mohamed Salah may be getting the goals but he hasn’t been as decisive as he was in previous seasons.

Roberto Firmino, Gini Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, and even Fabinh, also seen a drop in their performance levels. However, it is Sadio Mane’s dip in form that has been the most surprising. He used to be the unsung hero of the team and the most consistent of all players.

Despite often avoiding the spotlight, the Senegalese almost always got the job done when necessary. In each of the last three seasons, Sadio Mane has ended the campaign with at least 20 goals. This season, he has just 12 goals in all competitions and has been wasteful in front of goal.

A player lacking confidence

Sadio Mane is a complete joy to watch when he is in good form but his performances have been very frustrating in recent weeks. He scored against Leeds United last week but squandered a series of chances which could have given Liverpool a comfortable lead. This allowed Marcelo Bielsa’s side to snatch a late equaliser to claim a point.

Sadio Mane was once again wasteful when the Reds drew with Newcastle United on Saturday. The same can be said of his performances in both legs against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final tie.

The 29-year-old’s demeanour indicates he is a player lacking confidence. Two weeks ago, Klopp defended the winger and said he isn’t concerned about his current form.

"We all know how good Sadio Mane is, what a player he is and what he did for us. But, obviously, the numbers scoring-wise are not great at the moment and he knows that,” the Liverpool boss said, as quoted by Goal.
"For a player with the mindset of Sadio, he wants to do extremely well. But this is the situation he is in. Each striker in the world knows these kinds of situations. I'm not concerned but I see it as well (that his form isn't the best), it's clear. We work on it. It's the only answer I can give," Klopp added.

While Klopp may have tried to get the media off Sadio Mane’s back, there is no doubt that the player is currently struggling. He may yet break this miserable run of form this season. However, Mane is currently far from the player who terrorised defenders in the Premier League and Europe over the last four years.

Published 26 Apr 2021
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