Sadio Mane Explained
As a fan or otherwise, 26-year-old Sadio Mane is a player that at times makes you want to hug him even via the television screen and equally as many times, requires some degree of self-control to refrain from chucking your remote at it.
A few nights after missing countless chances in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Napoli in the champions league, he came out on top in their 3-1 over Manchester Red, sending Liverpool Red to the top of the premier league standings. In a beautiful show of athleticism, the Senegalese was the quickest to make contact with Fabinho’s perfectly timed chip into the box, eyeballs out, his chest elevated to direct the ball to his feet assigned to expertly lunge it past David De Gea. The ever so enraptured Anfield choir’s interlude approved and the whole world confirmed, we were in the presence of greatness. He was undone, deep into the second half, with the scores tied, Mane was at it again. This time, nobody can explain what he did to Matic but in a fraction of a second, he was out of sight in a perfect position to tee up Shaqiri for Liverpool’s second with the aid of some deflection. But that is just one side of him, the side we all wish to see week in and out. There is however an explanation as to why he is almost always one of the first names on Jurgen Klopp’s team sheet even ahead of the weekend’s two goal hero, Xherdan Shaqiri.
It’s quite simple, yes he misses some clear cut goal chances but remains one of Liverpool’s most hardworking players. In a foot race, lightning quick Salah can hardly beat him but would surely outpace anyone in a marathon. Mane runs the entire 90 minutes, puts in the tackles, floors defenders with slick dribbles and holds his own against some of the strongest of defenders. He hardly goes missing in any game because of the superior physical and technical attributes. Mane is a hybrid forward, who can adjust to whatever shape the game takes.
He’s a man that’s not afraid of the moment. He proved that in the 2018 Champions League Final against Real Madrid, when a certain King Salah, who has scored 33% of Liverpool’s goals in all competitions to this point, went down with an infamous and still controversial shoulder injury in the 30th minute. Almost seamlessly, the Liverpool offense ran through Mane for the rest of the match, with the Senegalese playmaker pulling The Reds level in the 55th after a Karim Benzema goal that came 4 minutes prior.
We just have to accept that you will not find him scoring as much Messi, Ronaldo, Salah or Aubameyang – but offers his own unique skillset to the game.