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Does Sadio Mane have a future at Liverpool?
Senegalese forward has altercation with manager Jurgen Klopp after win over United
By Craig Humpage
Uploaded on Friday 14 May 2021
It was all smiles as Liverpool picked up their first win at Old Trafford since Jurgen Klopp's arrival, but many on Twitter have been distracted by Sadio Mane seeming to snub the German coach after the final whistle. It's been a frustrating campaign for the Senegalese and there are suggestions he may be slipping down the pecking order as Diogo Jota emerges as a credible alternative. But is all this blown out of proportion? His numbers aren't quite up to the standard of the last two seasons but 9 goals and 5 assists in 32 appearances puts him on par with the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Edinson Cavani, having only played a few games more. Is this just a blip or could Sadio Mane's best days at Liverpool be done?
Jurgen Klopp plays down Mane handshake snub after United game
The analysis after the game mainly focused on Liverpool's spectacular performance and 4-2 victory but the boys in the Sky Sports studio did find some time to comment on Mane refusing Klopp's handshake. Graeme Souness called it "disrespectful to the football club" and said Mane should have been happier with the result: "Yeah, he's not happy at being left out, but can he really argue? He's not had a great season, how can he argue with the fact he's been a sub and Liverpool have won 4-2 at Old Trafford which is not a happy hunting ground for them."
Manager Jurgen Klopp was quick to downplay what happened. "No problem. Yesterday I made a late decision in training to decide for Diogo. The boys are used to me explaining things usually but there was actually no time for that and that's all. It's all fine." So Jurgen Klopp is keen to brush this one under the carpet and move on, but is Sadio Mane happy with his position at Liverpool right now?
Klopp on Sadio Mane:— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) May 14, 2021
"If somebody shows me 5 million times respect and one time not, what is more important? I hope for you that your boss, if you one time don't show him respect, doesn't forget the other stuff." #awlfc [lfc]
Is the famed front three changing?
Diogo Jota was brought in last September from Wolves to bolster their attacking options. After losing every centre back at the club to injury, in hindsight bosses probably wish they'd opted to buy a defender. Jota has equalled his previous goal tally from his days in the Black Country while playing half the games. He started very well until he picked up a knee injury on international duty with Portugal in early December which kept him out of the side for three months. Since returning he hasn't quite been at the same level but he still looks like he will contribute greatly in coming years. Jurgen Klopp preferred Jota to Mane for the United game and that seems to have touched a nerve. Could he perhaps be worried about his place in the starting line-up for next season?
"This is the worst season of my career"
In an interview with French media outlet Canal Plus, the Senegal international called this campaign "the worst season" of his career. Statistically speaking he's done okay but compulsive winners set high standards and he has failed to replicate anything close to the 18 and 22 goals he notched up in his past two seasons. Mane doesn't seem to know why his form has dipped but that's not for want of trying. He has even taken tests on his body and questioned his nutrition but he can't find the answer. He's clearly frustrated with his current form and position in the squad, but can he and the team find the correct remedy for the situation?
Will Sadio Mane bounce back next season?
Many great players before him have had their blips. It's not been catastrophic by any stretch but for a player who has won the Champions League and the Premier League, and been a major focal point in those successes, a poor run of form can be very sobering. However, if Mane has the support of his coach, his teammates and the fans. he will surely improve.
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