After his fantastic start to the 2019/20 Premier League season, Sadio Mané is now being discussed as one of the most prolific footballers in the world. The Anfield Talk’s Logan (@kidddlogan) takes a look at Mané’s Liverpool career thus far, and how he has always been the world-class footballer that the world is now becoming accustomed to.
July 1, 2016: The day Liverpool tapped into Southampton’s squad once again. This time, it was for Senagalese forward, Sadio Mané. The Sengal International was acquired for a fee of roughly 30 million pounds on a five-year contract. Yes, 30 million pounds.
The moment that Mané first stepped out on the pitch in a Liverpool kit, he has been nothing short of absolutely brilliant. In the 2016/17 Premier League season, he netted 13 times as well as contributing 6 assists in 27 appearances for the Reds. A swift start to his first full season at Anfield.
As the 2017/18 season approached, more and more attention was being focused on Mané’s new attacking partner, Mo Salah. Salah was making his return back to the Premier League for the first time since leaving Chelsea in 2015. With all of the attention focused on the Egyptian, Mané put his head down and went about being the incredible footballer that he is.
Throughout the 2017/18 season, Mo Salah put up absolutely unreal numbers. Scoring 44 goals across all competitions in his return to English football. In a system that heavily favoured Salah and his ability to beat defenders one-on-one, Mané still managed to increase his production in front of goal. The Sengal International fininished in front of goal 20 times across all competitions. Yet another incredible season considering a system that did not favour his style of play.
During the first two full seasons that Mané featured in a Liverpool shirt, Klopp transformed his overall game. Klopp helped evolve the Senegalese’s game from just being an out-and-out forward. Mané still had a very big emphasis on scoring and creating goals, but now he has another big responsibility in coming back and helping out Andy Robertson on the flank. Since that transformation, Mané’s production has increased even more.
The 2018/19 season was an absolute whirlwind for all Liverpool supporters. From the incredible scenes of winning the sixth Eurpoean Cup to the nervy title race, it was also a whirlwind season for Sadio Mané. The Senegalese managed to net 26 goals across all competitions and he came up with some of the most important goals of the entire campaign. The double at Bayern Munich in the Chapions League Round of 16 and getting off of the mark against Porto in the quarterfinals. It’s safe to say if Mané was not able to create those moments of magic, we would be sitting here most likely without a sixth European Cup.
After last seasons campaign, the world was really put on notice to the play of Mané. He was no longer just a member of Liverpool’s front three. He was now labeled as one of the deadliest, if not the deadliest, member of the front three in terms of putting the ball into the back of the net.
Announced last week, Mané finished fourth in the Ballon d’Or race only behind Lionel Messi, Virgil van Dijk, and Cristiano Ronaldo. His placement only further reiterates that Mané is now amond the world’s greatest. The world’s greatest, Lionel Messi, admitted that Mané’s fourth place finish was “a shame” after the season he had. We all agree, Lionel.
Fortunately for Liverpool fans and football fans in general, Mané’s production has not dropped off. If anything, it’s gotten even better this season. Mané is off to his best start to a campaign in his career. As we are in the first week of December, the Senegalese has already netted 13 times and assisted 7 times after this week’s thrashing of the relegation battling, Everton.
Look out for a bigger emphasis on the system favouring Mané and his style of play for the rest of the season. Klopp has already showed his trust in the Senegalese International by allowing him to have more freedom within the system and playing while the likes of Salah and Roberto Firmino take a seat on the bench.
If he is able to keep up the fantastic play for the rest of the season, Sadio Mané will make a very big case to be a favourite in next seasons Ballon d’Or race. Liverpool will also have to fend off the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona who have both showed interest in purchasing the Senegalese for an outrageous fee.