Alex Rogers wonders if Liverpool aren’t over-reliant on Sadio Mané to perform in attacking areas.
Watching Liverpool completely outplay Tottenham was like speaking to an old friend you’ve not spoken to in a while. It was comforting. It was good to see the free flowing football we had come to expect under Klopp but, as of late, had been denied.
Also seeing Sadio Mané back to his very best was great to see. Two goals in as many minutes is very Mané-esque. It was a killer display from just about everyone in the team, with Firmino having a near perfect game, doing everything apart from bagging a goal. Also, Wijnaldum being a commanding force in the midfield, playing with amazing confidence that I haven’t seen from him before in a Liverpool shirt.
Our 2-0 win against Spurs will hopefully be the end of our abhorrent run of form, but is it just coincidence that our first win in the league since what feels like a hundred years coincides with the return of our dear Mané?
So I guess the question is, are we over-reliant on Sadio Mané? It’s not hard to come that conclusion when you look at the facts. Sadio leaves for AFCON and we start to play poorly, seeming to lack creativity and pace, leading to our scarily bad run of form and when he comes back, we win against a serious top four contender. Hmmm…
There was a lot of talk about buying a good backup for Mané for when he representing his country, with many debates over if we actually needed to buy someone just as backup. Also at this time, Coutinho was injured and not playing, leaving us even weaker in attack.
But the fact of the matter is that we didn’t buy an alternative and we may have suffered because of it. Our biggest weakness was our lack of creativity in attack and how we just could not break down a team that sat deep. If Mané hadn’t had gone to AFCON we could potentially have been doing a lot better than we are currently in the league table.
That’s not to say he shouldn’t have gone, but our team, which includes the players and manager, should’ve been more prepared for when he left. The lack of squad depth for when he was gone and when Coutinho was out, was almost embarrassing. Seeing how much relied on our key players was eye opening.
Mané, undeniably, is one our most important players for us. In his first season for us, he is currently top goal scorer with 11 goals even when he missed a few weeks on international duty. That’s pretty impressive.
But relying too much on a player most definitely has disadvantages. Tell me, who could play backup to Mané? His biggest strength is his pace and dribbling and if we were to lose that again this season, I can see us struggling without it.