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F365 Says: Mane’s sparks help start Liverpool fire

Is there any surprise at the three names on the score sheet? Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino: those names have become as automatic as Shearer and Sutton or Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez. Liverpool scarcely look any worse off since their Fab Four became The Less Alliteration-Friendly Three following Phillippe Coutinho’s departure in January, despite the Brazilian being Liverpool’s best player in the years leading up to his departure. Firmino has left behind the claims that he is under-rated to establish himself as an enviable attacking talent for any side, and Salah has been so sensational that he’s caused me to sentences my lose construct ability to coherent. If Salah is the bride at Liverpool’s wedding and Firmino is the maid of honour, then Mane has consistently been the plain old bridesmaid. He is impressive enough to firmly entrench himself as part of that trio we have become so accustomed to talking about, but rarely receives the individual credit and attention that his consistency deserves. His goal against Bournemouth means his goals tally has reached double figures in all four of his Premier League seasons since joining Southampton from RB Salzburg in the summer of 2014, while his assist rate has also stayed remarkably consistent from one season to the next: he’s recorded three, six, five and seven. The secret to Liverpool’s success in attack has been that every player has an excellent all-round game, but with one or two different traits each to make them exceptional and pose of variety of problems for defences to solve at once. Firmino is strong and tenacious; Salah is skilful and clinical. Mane is the man who supplies the pace, and therein may lay the reason for his being so often overlooked. Raw pace is fetishised in the English game, but in a central striker – or a winger playing in a front three, rather than in a midfield four five – it can often lead to accusations that ‘all they do is score goals’. As Gary Lineker put it in a 2008 interview: “They forget about the 155 runs you make during the game that nobody notices.” But the core paradox of Mane is that although he is so consistent from game to game, his in-game performances can be staggeringly inconsistent from one moment to the next. His performances in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw again Everton in December and the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace a fortnight ago are the purest encapsulation of that. He looked like entirely the wrong tool for the job against a packed, deep-lying defence in the derby; yet scored Liverpool’s only goal and should have had a second. Against Palace, he went down so late under a clear foul as to inadvertently con the referee into booking him for diving, rather than giving a penalty, and was lucky to avoid a second yellow for inexplicably picking the ball up during open play; yet he scored the vital equaliser with a deft finish. In a Liverpool team that is above all else praised for sheer constant graft and perpetual intensity, and with Salah in such scintillating form, Mane is the only player whose game is all about occasional flashes of brilliance. Firmino’s constant simmer may be more endearing, and Mo Salah’s explosions may be more spectacular, but as the great tactician Bruce Springsteen once said, you can’t start a fire without a spark. Steven Chicken The post F365 Says: Mane’s sparks help start Liverpool fire appeared first on Football365....


Published By: Fottball 365 - Saturday, 14 April, 2018

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