Sadio Mane has just hinted at Liverpool’s next catastrophic move forward.
Jurgen Klopp’s strikers are used to carrying the burden of expectation.
Under the German coach, Liverpool’s fierce game can be tremendously demanding both on and off the ball, with the typical player liable to falter under such strain.
Sadio Mane, in particular, has been a standout performer for Liverpool since joining from Southampton in 2016, scoring 76 Premier League goals and adding 27 assists.
His output has been important, but it was that facet of his game that was highlighted as a criticism against Leeds United over the weekend.
Mane had a game-high ten shots, one more than Marcelo Bielsa’s team had as a whole (nine), and at least twice as many as any of his colleagues.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Mohamed Salah, Harvey Elliott, and Diogo Jota all had three attempts to score, which equals Mane’s total of ten.
The issue was that he didn’t score until the 92nd minute of the game, with his 10th attempt. In his post-match analysis, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink observed, “He could have easily had a hat-trick.”
While the former Chelsea striker has a point, Mane’s overall effort should not be overshadowed by his inability to convert on the day.
Despite his conversion, Mane remained a threat throughout the match, and he was too strong for his direct opponent, which posed problems for Bielsa’s man-marking approach from the outset.
Whether shrugging off an opponent, darting in behind, moving the ball forward, or tracking back, he was a valuable contributor for Klopp’s team, but it’s his finishing that gets the most attention.
Liverpool had 30 shots in the game, the highest in a league game since December 2018, with Mane accounting for 33 percent of them.
In the coming weeks, he will undoubtedly strive to improve his finishing, but Mane’s ten shots should be viewed as a testament to his immense threat.
With his 26 shots in the first four games of the season, no player has accumulated more shots than the Senegalese international. “The summary has come to an end.”