Not only did Sadio Mane score a wonder-goal against Arsenal yesterday to mark his competitive Liverpool debut, but he put in a defensive performance of considerable note to boot.
The Senegalese started on the right wing and was as effective going backwards as he was going forwards, demonstrating why Jurgen Klopp was so keen to sign him this summer.
Mane won an eye opening six tackles, and recovered the ball eight times in total – the joint most of any player on the pitch.
This would be impressive for a holding midfielder, but when you consider the jaw-dropping fourth Mane also added – it’s all the more revealing.
— Thore Haugstad (@Haugstad1006) August 14, 2016
Many fans questioned the Mane deal when it went through. It was expensive and we were buying another player from Southampton – but stylistically – he’s exactly what we needed.
Mane’s pace stretches opponents, but it’s his directness that is more impressive. When Lallana played on the right he cut inside and looked to pass first – but Mane turns towards goal and runs with it – nearly every time.
We cannot wait to see more of him this campaign.