Liverpool star Sadio Mane is normally one of the team’s most consistent and reliable performers, but last night he struggled as Jurgen Klopp’s side fell to defeat in the Champions League.
The 28-year-old started for Liverpool in their Group D meeting with Atalanta at Anfield and, after claiming a goal and assist in the reverse fixture, would’ve been hoping for more of the same.
Unfortunately, Mane provided no more than one or two bright moments in the first half, largely being kept quiet, with no improvements in the second half as he looked increasingly tired.
BBC Sport pundit Clinton Morrison, commentating on the action on Merseyside, appeared somewhat shocked by the £100,000-a-week man’s fruitless display on the night.
Speaking after Atalanta’s 60th-minute opener, Morrison said: “Sadio Mane has been well off it. Something’s not right.”
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.”
Liverpool were beaten 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens.
Although the Reds remain top of the group on nine points from three games, Atalanta and Ajax are snapping at their heels with seven points.
It’s been a somewhat subdued season for Mane by his usual high standards, but this could be attributed to having played so much for Liverpool this season.
To date, he has clocked up 1,079 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.
With that in mind, Klopp should consider resting Mane as games continue to come thick and fast, particularly with the festive schedule approaching.