“Ehn Sadio Mane misses Liverpool and Liverpool miss Sadio Mane”
It is time you bury that agenda and throw the remains into the Atlantic ocean because statistics suggest that Sadio Mane’s game has been declining (Yes, you can read that again) but the majority haven’t noticed it.
Kindly follow me as a take you on this wonderful discovery and please note I will be using statistics from Sadio Mane’s last 4 seasons in the Premier League to support my position which is available on Fbref.com and Whoscored.com.
Sadio Mane’s best seasons for Liverpool were in the 2018/2019 season where he scored 22 league goals for Liverpool(winning the golden boot in the process) and the 2019/2020 season where his game went to another level and he helped Liverpool to win the Premier League.
In that season, Mane recorded 25 goal contributions with 18 goals and 7 assists, his highest in any league season to date. He also averaged better key passes (a pass leading to a shot) per game, more dribbles per game which is more than the previous season when he won the golden boot. Then, the recession came in.
In the following season which was the 2020/2021 season, Mane could only manage 11 goals and 7 assists in in 35 Premier League games. Do not forget that it was the same season that Liverpool suffered a defensive crisis with their center backs missing most part of the season. Please, keep following me
You would argue that 18 goal contributions in 35 games are an impressive return but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Mane’s expected goals (goals likely to be scored from chances created for a player) was 15 goals but he could only score 11.
Still, in the same season, Mane’s shooting became poor as only 37.6% of his shots were on target, his poorest in 3 seasons. Mane’s passing also took a dip as he completed 75% of his passes as compared to the 77% and 80% pass completion he recorded in the previous two seasons. He could only carry the ball into the opposition’s third 37 times, a far cry from the numbers he boasted in the previous two seasons.
Let’s leave stats for a moment. It was in this same season that Sadio Mane started becoming indecisive with the ball in his possession, those that follow Liverpool will testify to this. Mane would rather choose to use his strength to get past a player rather than play a simple pass, will rather stay on his feet instead of falling when fouled by opposing defenders in the 18 yards box. It was then I knew something was off.
In the following season which was last season, Mane scored 16 goals which was an improvement from the previous season and he helped Liverpool mount a serious title challenge. Again, don’t get carried away, Sadio Mane’s overall play was still not convincing.
The one-time Premier League Golden boot winner’s shooting became poorer( only 37%) of his shots were on target, his passing took another dip though his dribbling got better. He got dispossessed twice per game and recorded 3 bad touches per game, his worst in the last 4 seasons.
Hey, I am not saying Mane has become as useless as that guy that left the blue side of London for the White side of Madrid.
but the fact remains that Mane’s game is on a decline. While Mane is still capable of winning matches, he isn’t as electric, decisive and elegant as he used to be.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Bayern Munich fans are complaining about his performances in the last couple of games though there lies another problem.
He has been leading the attack for the Bavarians since the start of the season, replacing the departed Robert Lewandowski in the attack. That means he will be compared with the former Balon D’or winner but you will be comparing apples with oranges by doing that.
Not only is Lewy a natural striker, but he has also been more consistent than Mane in the last four seasons. Lewandowski had a goal or an assist in 25 games on the average in the Bundesliga in the last four seasons while Mane could only manage 15 playing for Liverpool in the Premier league.
Sadio Mane is aging and it is only natural that his game would start to diminish and that is why the expectation from him has to be lowered which might be a bitter pill to swallow especially if you were a Bayern Munich fan.
I hope with the few points of mine, I hope I have been able to convince you that while Mane remains a top player, his game is on the decline.