Former Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United forward Garth Crooks believes Sadio Mane “is carrying Liverpool on his shoulders” this season.
The Senegalese winger has been in inspired form this term and played a key role in the Reds’ 2-1 victory over Spurs at the weekend, earning the penalty for Mohamed Salah’s 75th-minute winner.
Mane’s form this season: Five things to know…
- Mane has scored nine goals and registered four assists across all competitions this season.
- He has also created the second-most chances of any Liverpool player in the league (18), behind only Trent Alexander-Arnold (37).
- His work off the ball has been relentless too, making the second-most tackles (18) and being involved in the most duels (134).
- His form led Cesc Fabregas to described him as one of “the top three players in the world”.
- Crooks believes that Mane has been Liverpool’s main man this season, and not Virgil Van Dijk or Mohamed Salah.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are currently sat top of the Premier League table, six points clear of reigning champions Manchester City with 10 games played.
They are yet to lose and have dropped points just once this season, and Crooks believes this form has been down to the final-third exploits of Mane, who has picked up from where he left off last season.
In his column for BBC Sport, Crooks wrote: “Two seasons ago it was Mo Salah who was carrying Liverpool. Last season it was Virgil van Dijk who had a massive influence on the success of the team.
“This season it’s Sadio Mane who is carrying Liverpool on his shoulders.
“His speed, power and strength have been a feature of Liverpool’s play this season and without the Senegal international, life at the top would be considerably less comfortable.
“It was Mane who caused mayhem in Tottenham’s ranks the entire match and the reason they lost. With a little help from Serge Aurier, of course.”
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Mane wants to finish career at Liverpool
This campaign is Mane’s fourth season at Anfield having completed a move from Southampton in the summer of 2016, and the 27-year-old says he wants to enjoy many more years on Merseyside.
Mane’s latest admission is sure to leave many Kopites purring as the 2018/19 Golden Boot winner has been vital to Klopp’s highly successful system, and he appears to be getting better with every season he has under the German.
He told Norwegian broadcaster TV2: “I am very happy to be part of this great club and I enjoy it.
“Hopefully I stay here forever. I’ve been to some clubs around the world, but Liverpool is unique. It’s like a family.
“The mood is always incredible. But it’s normal that we’ve been together for four years and know each other.
“We are also together off the field and that is important for morale.”