Jurgen Klopp's tactical change has 'monstrous' Liverpool star playing the best football of his career - RTK View


Jurgen Klopp's tactical change has 'monstrous' Liverpool star playing the best football of his career - RTK View

Sadio Mané is playing the best football of his Liverpool career right now. It comes after Jurgen Klopp made a tactical change.

Sadio Mané could have retired from football before this season and he’d have still gone down as a Liverpool legend. We’d have been robbed of arguably his best moments in a Red shirt, however – what he’s doing right now is extraordinary.

But the story of Mané’s season is actually a little strange. He started it by playing a different role than he had been while out on the left. Liverpool were creating almost exclusively down their right-hand side and that left their no.10 as something of a goal poacher.

The stats backed that up as Mané was shooting more but doing just about everything else less. He was second-fiddle behind Mohamed Salah – arguably third behind Diogo Jota, too.

And then came the Africa Cup of Nations. Mané departed in January to try and make history with Senegal. He’d eventually achieve that, winning the tournament as the Best Player, beating Salah in the final.

He returned to a slightly different Liverpool. They were now a team that had decided to go all-out in pursuit of trophies, while he also had a new teammate in Luis Diaz. One who also happened to play in his position.

Sadio Mané shines for Liverpool

Diaz has been a revelation out on the left, of course, and that’s led to a tactical tweak. Jurgen Klopp has pulled Mané into a central role, asking him to play as a False 9. As we wrote last month, that immediately led to some fantastic form as the Senegal star scored regularly.

What’s happened since, though, has been extraordinary – ‘monstrous’, in the words of Arsene Wenger. Mané is showing no signs of exhaustion from all the football this season and is instead putting in the best football of his career.

Liverpool ask Mané to do a lot right now, after all. They want him to be the link-man with midfield, they want him to run in behind, they want him to press high up the pitch, score goals, create chances – they want him to be a Roberto Firmino/Mané-hybrid.

The crazy thing is he’s actually doing it. Liverpool look a better team with Mané playing centrally right now as he can offer the link-play of Firmino but with more pace in behind.

Photo by Silvestre Szpylma/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

And it’s also leading to game-changing performances. Since we wrote that article on April 8th, Mané has scored at the Etihad to secure Liverpool a point against Manchester City. The next week he scored twice at Wembley to put Liverpool into the FA Cup final at City’s expense.

Mané then got a goal and assist against Manchester United and scored in both legs of the Champions League semi-finals.

Liverpool now enter the final few weeks of the season. They’ll play four Premier League games in that time, hoping to overhaul City for the title. There are also two cup finals – the FA Cup and the Champions League – as the Reds chase history.

And with Mané in this form, they might just do it. He’s certainly going to have a say.

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