Sky Sports pundit and Liverpool legend Phil Thompson has spoken highly of Sadio Mane’s return to the Reds line-up following a spell out with injury (Sky Sports News).
The Liverpool forward had limped out of the 2-1 win over Wolves on 23 January and began the game against Norwich on the bench.
However, with the deadlock yet to be broken at Carrow Road, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp opted to send Mane into the fray.
Mane’s introduction reaped dividends as he controlled Jordan Henderson’s delivery with a fine first touch and duly fired past Tim Krul for the only goal in the 1-0 win.
The Senegalese’s winner against the Canaries was his 100th goal in English football and puts him on 16 goals for the season in all competitions, along with 11 assists (Transfermarkt).
With Liverpool now set to take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, Thompson raved about how good it is to have Sane available once again.
“It was great to have Sadio Mane back at Norwich,” he told Sky Sports News. “With him being out for a while, he has become as important as Mohamed Salah in terms of goalscoring this season. He has been nothing short of top class so you want him to be available.
“You could have seen him being on the bench with the Champions League game coming up on Tuesday, but whether we would have been winning or losing, he would have been coming on to gain the relative game time.
“How fresh he looked will have warmed the heart of every Liverpool fan and probably the most of his team-mates too. He had this energy in his legs, which was an added bonus to Liverpool winning the game.”
The Liverpool class of 2019-20 is sweeping aside everything before them, and Mane’s impact at Anfield since his 2016 arrival from Southampton has been sensational, as with most of Klopp’s signings.
While every Reds player has played their part in forming arguably one of the most dominant sides in the history of football, Mane is very much one of the standouts thanks to his talent, work ethic, attitude and role played in every aspect of Liverpool’s attack.
Indeed, teammate Fabinho previously described him as a “complete player” (Liverpool website) and it’s hard to argue against that – could Mane be in line for the PFA Player of the Year award?