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The Main Mane - What’s Behind Sadio’s Great Form?

The Main Mane - What’s Behind Sadio’s Great Form?

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has been in sensational form so far this campaign. Deployed on the left-hand side of Jurgen Klopp’s front three, Mane has found the back of the net three times in 2021-22. On Saturday, he bagged his 100th Liverpool goal in all competitions and he is now just two strikes away from joining the fabled Premier League 100 club. He would become just the third African footballer to reach the milestone, after Didier Drogba and Reds teammate Mohamed Salah. But what is behind the Senegalese striker's strong start?


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Putting A Difficult Season Behind Him

There’s no hiding the fact that Mane played a pivotal role in the Reds’ title-winning 2019-20 season.

Mane was on the scoresheet 18 times as Liverpool picked up their first league title in 30 years, with an additional seven assists to his name as well.

Although Mane matched his assists total in an injury hampered campaign last time out, he could only manage 11 Premier League goals.

The Senegal international was disappointed with his return last season, and is looking to rectify it this time around.

Speaking to the Liverpool FC matchday programme, he said: "I want to score goals, and set up team-mates, even to score 30 goals.

"I was so disappointed with last season, and passionately so, as I thought I could have done more. 

“Whereas I might have been scoring between 18 and 22 goals a season, then on that occasion it was no longer the case so, of course, I was going to be disappointed."

The Numbers Don't Lie

Mane is creating more big chances per 90 this season (0.4) than he did in both of the previous two, 0.35 and 0.33 respectively.

In 2021-22, he has become more active in front of goal, with his 4.8 shots per 90 ranking second only to Cristiano Ronaldo.

This is also up on the previous two campaigns, where he managed 3.01 and 2.58 shots.

These are still early days. But Mane knows that he cannot afford to rest on his laurels. 

He said: "In football, things move on very quickly and people forget the past. 

“It's a shame, but that's how it is. 

“People aren't always talking about what we have won up to today, and there's no excuse for relaxing in pursuit of our goals.”

Why The Current Success?

A summer free of football has benefited Mane, as well as missing the recent international break due to the controversial Covid restrictions placed upon elite athletes heading to red-list countries.

Despite a difficult 2020-21, Mane rarely hid and was often seen demanding the ball.

This season, he is seeing even more of it thanks to a slight tweak in the way the Reds set up.

Liverpool have opted for a style that sees triangles frequently played on their right-hand side, dragging opposition players over that flank.

This has given their No10 more room to exploit which was never more evident than in his goal against Burnley.

The ball was quickly played across to Harvey Elliott, who found Trent Alexander-Arnold on his inside and, all of a sudden, Mane had the freedom of Anfield to run through the middle and seal the game.

Likely to be rested for tonight’s Carabao Cup tie at Norwich City, Mane will get another chance to add to his Premier League goal tally at the weekend as the Reds head to West London to face new boys Brentford.

Then, it’s another chance to get his Champions League tally up and running as they head to Porto before they face Manchester City ahead of the international break.

On the evidence of the season so far, you wouldn’t back against him continuing his hot streak.

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