Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted he needs to help Sadio Mane return to his old self after revealing his concern by his loss of form and lack of confidence in front of goal.
The Senegalese forward has proved a massive success since an initial £30m move from Southampton in 2016. He has scored a total of 93 goals in 203 appearances for the club and is regarded as one of the world’s best players. Indeed, Mane finished fourth in the 2019 Ballon d’Or vote.
However, this season has seen Mane – like so many of his teammates – suffer a big drop in standards. He has struggled in front of goal, finding the back of the net just once in his last 12 top-flight starts.
Indeed, he has just 12 goals in 39 games this season. His body-language even suggests some mental fatigue.
To that end, Klopp has admitted the issue might be playing on Mane’s mind.
“We all know how good Sadio Mane is and what a player he is,” Klopp said. “The numbers, scoring-wise, are not great for us at the moment. He knows that. With a player with the mindset of Sadio, he wants to do extremely well.
“I’m not concerned but I see it as well, that’s clear. We work on it, that’s the only answer I can give.”
Klopp concedes that Mane is not carrying an injury and the issue may be more a mental one.
In light of all that, interest from the likes of Real Madrid appears to have quietened down.
“There’s no physical problem for Sadio, not a real one. We all need breaks from time to time but it’s not a general problem.
“If you don’t score for a while then strikers start thinking. And there is a moment when you start thinking exactly the right things again and then it will be fine again. We have to make sure that this time is not too far away.”
Mane admits to ‘complicated time’
Addressing Liverpool’s slump from being top at Christmas to falling away from the top four, Mane spoke of his concerns.
He said: “As a professional footballer it is not easy when you are used to winning every single game like we were used to last year.
“At times it was tough, but not like it is now, which is a really complicated time.
“But we are more experienced now and we know how to deal with things. You just have to stick together and be as positive as you can.”