When Liverpool’s interest in Sadio Mané became publicly known, there was a lot of debate about how the player would fare at the club.
Many thought his £30 million price tag, including those at CrownBet promotions, which (according to several media outlets) could eventually rise to being a Liverpool club record, was way above what he was worth.
While the former Red Bull Salzburg player had scored 10 and 11 goals in his two seasons at Southampton, he was called “too inconsistent” and “patchy” for the club to invest over £30 million in him.
Proving he’s worth every penny
But the player has already proved his doubters wrong, and the season has only now begun.
In his competitive debut for the club, away at Arsenal nonetheless, a ground where Liverpool had won once in 13 attempts, Mane showed what the Reds had been missing for some time now.
He had a brilliant game, and his scintillating goal illustrated that.
The attacker was central to everything Liverpool did, from carrying the ball to running at the defence with pace and intent.
Mane was making things happen, was confident and eventually, scored a goal of top quality.
Unfortunately, the Senegalese got injured in training and couldn’t play against Burnley, a game where Liverpool got crushed somehow, losing 2-0 to the newly promoted side.
Mane returned against Burton and once again dominated proceedings.
The real deal
So far, Mane has looked the real deal.
Liverpool were missing menacing pace in the side after Raheem Sterling’s departure to Manchester City, and the 24-year-old has remedied that.
His speed, aggression, and direct running have given Liverpool a dimension they didn’t have last year.
Once again, there is another, and probably better, goal threat out wide.
He certainly looks like a defender’s nightmare. He is strong, fast, has great vision and intelligence.
What’s better is that he looks like he can do this for all 90 minutes. And to top it all, he is only 24.
Liverpool’s newest talisman?
After the departure of Luis Suarez, Liverpool haven’t had a player who could consistently be “the” player.
Daniel Sturridge is injured far too often, and Philippe Coutinho is far too inconsistent. Roberto Firmino showed that he could be the main man for the Reds but he too, went missing on crucial occasions.
From Mané’s early performances, we can see that he can be that player for the Reds.
It might be premature to say anything, and Jurgen Klopp, and Jordan Henderson have already sent out a warning about being too over reliant on the Senegalese star.
But with such exciting performances, fans will not pay much heed to the warning.
The likes of Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge and Adam Lallana will also benefit from his presence. Even if he can’t be “the” man for the Reds, he could be a crucial cog in the engine, and that is enough.
Things looking up
Mane already looks like a brilliant signing for the club.
He needs to work on his consistency, and if Klopp and his team can somehow ensure he puts on similar performances in every game, Liverpool have a season to look forward to.
Written by Aakriti Mehrotra
Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1
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