Senegal's Mane delivering the goods just when Liverpool needs him to
With the season hitting its penultimate moments, encompassed by an avalanche of fixtures and weariness of players, for teams that are competing for honors, it is crucial that there are players hitting top form to help their teams challenge for silverware in various tournaments. It is no different for English side Liverpool, who have for lengthy periods of this season, shown immense potential of being the favorites to wrestle for the English Premier League title with Manchester City. For Liverpool, their forward trident of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have often times than not, been the ones producing the goods all season. The latter however has been the one hogging headlines in recent times. The in-form front man has been Klopp’s go-to guy since the turn of the year, and going into the climax of the season, Mane surely seems to be hitting form when it matters the most.
Mane’s latest escapades came in the recent UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg fixture. The 26-year old stepped up to be counted and netted a brace in the 3-1 win over Bayern Munich to help send the Reds into the quarter-finals of the UCL. Mane confounded the Bayern defense and left football lovers reconsidering their assertion of rating Manuel Neuer as the world’s best goalkeeper.
Mané has been a machine since late January. Since Liverpool’s match against Crystal Palace on the 19th day of the year to now, he’s scored 11 goals in 11 matches across all competitions, most of those coming from high-pressure situations. His goals against Leicester City and West Ham salvaged crucial points for Jurgen Klopp’s men, while his last four games have featured three, two-goal games. In the process, he’s not only managed to keep the Merseysiders daring to dream of a possible league and Champions league double, he’s also forced his way up the Premier League goal scoring charts. He is tied in second position with 17 goals together with Salah, Harry Kane and Arsenal’s Aubameyang, just one behind leader Sergio Agüero’s 18.
While Liverpool’s other scoring options have been faltering in the team’s current stretch of grinded results, Mané has turned a corner at the perfect time and certainly appears to be enjoying his shine. Going into the last 8 matches of the Premier League, as well as the Champions League quarter finals match-up against FC Porto, Liverpool will be banking on Mane to keep delivering the goods and ultimately end the Red’s title drought. If he manages to maintain the momentum he’s in right now, the walking nightmare could turn back into a dreamland paradise at Merseyside (unless, of course, you’re an Everton fan.)