Sadio Mane arrived from Southampton at Liverpool FC in 2016 as a fairly raw but destructive winger who needed elite coaching to elevate him to the next level. His signing was often mocked by rival fans especially for the fee (£34 million) that was paid for him. But, almost six years later, he has more than repaid that fee with an amazing Anfield career so far where he has been instrumental in winning many team and individual accolades. As last season was not particularly fruitful for him, is it time to question if he is fairly rated or not?
The Senegalese Captain arrived in Jurgen Klopp’s first full season and immediately became a key component of the team. His pace, power, trickery, clinical finishing and unpredictability were too difficult for the league’s defenders to handle. He was so important to the team that the Merseyside club’s form fell when he left for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in January for a few games.
He continued his scintillating form the following season as Liverpool reached the 2018 UEFA Champions League final. Liverpool had signed Mohamed Salah that summer and completed the attacking trio alongside Roberto Firmino and Mane. The Egyptian and Mane have since had a healthy rivalry for scoring the most goals which has only benefitted the Reds contrary to what the media tries to portray.
He won the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2018/19 season with 22 goals scored which he shared with teammate Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang. Salah’s otherworldly two seasons had many underrating Mane and his contributions. Famously, Argentine great Lionel Messi said he was disappointed to see Mane finishing fourth in the 2019 Ballon D’or in an interview with Canal+, even going on to say he voted for the Liverpool number ten, establishing he was fairly underrated.
The following seasons saw his output dry up season after season. He had scored 18 goals in the 2019/20 season where Liverpool ended their Premier League drought.
The following season saw him score only 11 goals, but to be fair to him, the whole team suffered from the injury crisis Liverpool faced that season. Though, that did not seem to stop Salah as he scored 22 goals again. This meant Mane became a bit overrated as his output was not good. He has started this season promisingly with 4 goals scored in 7 league appearances so far. Many are rating him on the basis of the previous season he had, but Mane still looks like his prime version again. Liverpool needs Prime Mane to win trophies again, so here’s hoping he gets his mojo back