Liverpool have toiled badly in January so far, and it’s coincided with the absence of winger Sadio Mane who remains on international duty.
The Senegal forward left for the Africa Cup of Nations with his club side in second place in the Premier League, and in both cups. When the tournament concludes, he will return with them out of both cups and possibly as low as fourth place in the league.
That in itself shows just badly things have gone wrong for Jurgen Klopp’s side without him, but delving further into the statistical side of things, it shows just how influential the former Southampton ace was.
As seen in the tweet below from BT Sport prior to Saturday’s FA Cup loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Reds have a win percentage of 71.4% with Mane in the side, winning 15 of 21 games so far this season and scoring 55 goals in the process.
Without him, it’s a completely different story. They’ve won just three of nine, scored nine and have seen that win percentage plummet to 33.3%.
Ultimately, the 24-year-old’s return can’t come soon enough. However, his focus will be on Senegal’s quarter-final encounter with Cameroon on Saturday night, and provided that they go on all the way, he won’t be back until February 6 at the earliest.
That will give Klopp a real headache, as while those stepping in haven’t done the job, taking Mane away from the starting line-up has blunted Liverpool’s attacking threat as it doesn’t quite have the same menace about it without Mane’s pace, movement and ability to run in behind.
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) January 28, 2017