It has been suggested that Sadio Mane’s downturn in form may be the product of unfair officiating decisions issued against the Liverpool star this term, as reported by The Athletic.
The Senegalese was on the receiving end of one such moment in the Reds’ 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League, with referee Felix Brych missing a clear foul against the forward in the build-up to the Spanish outfit’s second goal.
“Having worked so hard to improve his finishing with extra drills after training in recent years, the lack of goals this season has started to prey on Mane’s mind,” James Pearce and Mark Carey. “Staff at the AXA Training Centre also believe he’s been on the receiving end of some unfair treatment and as a result, his confidence has been dented.
“Southampton away in early January was one example,” The Athletic writers added. “Mane was convinced that he should have had a penalty after being brought down by Kyle Walker-Peters but his protests were ignored.”
We’re not unfamiliar with the notion of poor officiating decisions – either from VAR or the human equivalent – and it’s certainly reasonable to suggest that it could be impacting upon the performances of one of our generally brilliant stars.
It’s a difficult situation to navigate for Jurgen Klopp – does he rest the 28-year-old knowing that a likewise out-of-form forward in Bobby Firmino, or out-of-favour man Divock Origi, await on the bench?
With Liverpool three points from the top four, it’s not a particularly ideal scenario for the club, though we’ll certainly be backing Mane to work his way out of his current funk, hopefully before the season’s done and dusted.