On their day, Liverpool is one of the most exciting teams in Europe. Their ferocious, high-pressing and fluid style of football entertained millions last season. Alas, all that attacking football didn’t result in any silverware, and their critics are now asking whether all that play was in vain. Jürgen Klopp has taken note and accordingly signed players he feels will strengthen the defensive weak spots of his squad.
In total, the Reds spent £163.98million on new signings, money the German will feel should bring them closer to Manchester City. Although not a new signing, Sadio Mané is set to have a season like never before at Anfield. The 26-year-old is already one of the best players in the league, but with his side ready for a legitimate title push, he will give his all to lead them there.
Here is why Sadio Mané will be at the forefront of Liverpool’s attack this season.
It’s quite easy for a player who was voted the player of the season in 2016/17 to harbour resentment towards a new signing becoming the player of the season in 2017/18. But Sadio Mané isn’t like most players; he prefers to play for the betterment of the team. That’s why the Senegalese forward has welcomed Mohamed Salah with open arms both on and off the pitch.
Liverpool’s attack play in a way that suits the qualities of all the front three; Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah & the Senegalese star himself. Roberto Firmino operates as the false 9 that almost drops into an attacking midfielder role. His role is to link up with the other two from deep, who in turn stay high and wide up the pitch. Salah and Mané are instructed continuously to stretch the pitch and operate in the wide channels.
Often the duo will swap wings in an attempt to confuse the opposition defence. For the attack to work, all three must adopt the correct movement patterns at critical times. When on the counter-attack, both Mané and Salah have to make runs in the wide channels in order to ensure the opposition’s defenders are forced to mark both of them thus not knowing who to prioritise.
In 44 appearances last season, the winger scored 20 goals and provided 9 assists in a campaign that Liverpool showcased a flamboyant style of play. This season Sadio Mané will perhaps once again take a backseat to Mohamed Salah in terms of goalscoring, but his overall play will be integral to the Reds style of play. His off the ball runs, linkup play and defensive work rate make him irreplaceable in Klopp’s starting XI.
In reality, all eyes will be on the Egyptian this season after he scored 44 goals in 52 games. This season teams will be prepared for the player of the year and will focus on stopping him, thus giving Mané the freedom, he needs to excel. This is why Sadio Mané will be at the forefront of Liverpool’s attack this season as teams won’t expect his level of impact due to their obsessive focus on Mohamed Salah.