Jurgen Klopp’s next challenge must be reversing the struggling form of Sadio Mane. That alone could turn Liverpool around.
Two of Liverpool’s front-three have had defining seasons so far. Take Mohamed Salah, for instance.
The Egyptian has proven beyond doubt that he’s special. Despite a team that struggles badly and despite not even playing all that well, Salah has 24 goals this season.
He’s the Golden Boot leader in the Premier League with 17 – a stat we still find astonishing. Salah is simply incredible.
Then there’s Roberto Firmino, the opposite. The Brazilian hasn’t played well this season and looks on the decline.
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His six Premier League goals and five assists are decent numbers but they don’t tell the whole story. Firmino has consistently made poor decisions and games pass him by far more often than they used to.
It does feel like Liverpool need a replacement, in all honesty.
And then there’s Sadio Mane, who really just needs to fix his form.
Unlike Firmino, Mane has had plenty of games this season where he bossed it. It just seems as though little comes off.
He only has seven goals this season, for instance, with three assists. Per Understat, Mane should have around nine goals and five assists.
And Mane at his best outperforms those numbers, too. He did in each of the last two Premier League seasons – as elite players tend to.
There have been games this season where Mane was excellent, too. He just can’t do it consistently.
If he would, Liverpool win more games. It’s as simple as that. They’d have another threat alongside Salah but they’d also just function better as a team.
Drop the reliance on Salah and it opens up the entire pitch for creativity.
And that’s why we think Mane needs to be Klopp’s next big challenge. He’s got Curtis Jones thriving, Salah scoring, and Trent Alexander-Arnold looking back to his best.
Now it’s Mane’s turn. Get Mane in a rhythm and Liverpool can approach their best once again. We know the ability is still there – we see it once a month – now it’s time to get Mane thriving from game to game.