It’s been a few weeks since we saw Liverpool play now, but from our memory of 2019/20 and the two seasons previous – we’re pretty sure Sadio Mane has always provided a terrific defensive contribution down his flank!
But Steve Nicol doesn’t think that’s the case and has claimed our no.10 has got lucky in that Jurgen Klopp doesn’t ask him to help out in his own half.
Our former star also suggested John Barnes is the better player on the ball – which is not something we’d argue, although we’re not sure why Nicol’s tone regarding Mane has to be so negative.
‘I think Sadio Mane is lucky the way Liverpool play,’ Nicol told ESPN, cited in the Metro.
‘His job is pretty much to stay on one half of the field.
‘Yes, he does come back and help out defensively every now and again, but generally he’s told to stay in the attacking half of the field and go at defenders.
‘Now Barnesy, with the ball at his feet dribbling, at his best, was better than Mane. Unfortunately for Barnesy he had to do a lot more work in a game because one of his responsibilities was to defend, to get back behind the ball and be in a defensive position.’
We’d suggest Mo Salah maybe doesn’t do so much defending, but this isn’t something that can be accused of Mane and certainly not the other member of Liverpool’s front-three, Roberto Firmino.
And statistically, these wingers are the best we’ve ever had in terms of goals and assists – although we recognise the game has changed in regards to its demands of wide players.
But there is nothing lucky about Mane’s success at Liverpool. He’s fought from the bottom to get to where he is now and is rated as one of the world’s best because of his fight, talent and mentality.