Liverpool ace Sadio Mane is usually one of the team’s most consistent and reliable performers, and has been superb for most of his time at Anfield.
However, the 28-year-old has had a fairly subdued season by his standards, and last night he put in an unusually poor display as Jurgen Klopp’s side fell to a 2-0 defeat in the Champions League.
Mane started for Liverpool in their Group D meeting with Atalanta at Anfield and, after claiming a goal and assist in the 5-0 reverse, would’ve been hoping for more of the same.
Unfortunately, Mane was quiet for much of the game, and looked increasingly tired as the match went on, giving the ball away a number of times.
“Sadio Mane has been well off it. Something’s not right,” BBC Sport pundit Clinton Morrison said during the match.
As the game headed towards injury time, he added: “I’ve never seen Mane give the ball away as much as he has tonight. I’m one of his biggest fans but he’s been really sloppy.”
To date, Mane has clocked up 1,069 minutes of competitive action plus injury time for the Reds, on top of two full games for Senegal in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in November.
The schedule is only going to get more congested in the coming weeks, with 10 games between now and January 2, after which there’s a brief respite before the FA Cup third round a week later.
Given Mane is already looking tired, Klopp really needs to consider giving the £100,000-a-week ace some rest, perhaps the odd game off or bringing him off the bench, to manage and conserve his energy.
Good job that Liverpool signed Diogo Jota in the summer – while he can play across the whole front line, he got plenty of games on the left side of attack for Wolves.
With the Reds taking on Brighton in Saturday’s early kickoff, Klopp should opt for a front three of Jota, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
Mane, meanwhile, should be rested, and brought back in the XI for Tuesday’s Champions League meeting with Ajax.