Sadio Mane put in a wonderful all-around performance against Southampton on Saturday. The forward gives Liverpool fans hope going forward.
As we pointed out in our Player Ratings, a few players stood out as Liverpool beat Southampton 2-0. There was Alisson, of course, who kept the Reds in front time and time again.
Thiago wrote some headlines, too. He was wonderful in the first half and then grabbed the second with his first goal for the club.
It was a great display from the Spaniard as he continues to look better and better for Liverpool.
But perhaps the most encouraging display against Southampton came from Sadio Mane. He looked like his best self – and we haven’t seen that often this season.
Sadio Mane vs Southampton
The highlight was undoubtedly the goal, of course. Mane threw himself at a Mohamed Salah cross to head in the opener – his first Premier League goal at Anfield in 2021.
It was a wonderful cross from Salah, of course, but we really like the position Mane took up. He hasn’t done enough of that this season.
He scores some spectacular goals but Mane’s majority usually come from his positioning. The 29-year-old gets close to the goal for cutbacks or on the end of crosses. We haven’t seen that enough this year.
But what was really great about this performance was Mane doing a bit of everything. We’ve seen him put in some great games this season in specific areas – like a game against Burnley where he created nine chances – but it’s rarely been full-on Mane.
This, though, was Mane at his best.
He consistently ran at players, completing four dribbles. That was twice as many as any other player. Mane also created three chances for teammates. Only Trent Alexander-Arnold created more (5).
Mane also put in his defensive work with two tackles. He attempted two and won two – you can’t ask for more. In fact, only Fabinho won more for Liverpool.
This is very encouraging, then. Mane hasn’t been particularly good this season, usually offering only flashes of his best.
But this was the kind of performance we like to see from him. Mane was all-action, doing everything Liverpool needed and succeeding.
If he keeps this up, there’s no reason Liverpool can’t finish top four. There’s no reason Mane can’t return to being one of the world’s best forwards next season, either.