Sadio Mane is one of the most talented forwards in the world but has struggled this season.
Where he was arguably Liverpool’s best player in last year’s title-winning campaign, he has been poor this year. His output is simply not the same, with the Senegalese just one of many currently out of form in this Liverpool side.
However, with the Champions’ lack of defenders attracting the headlines, he’s managed to avoid light being cast on his poor form. This is not to say he can’t recover, he’s still a world-class attacker. However, the figures are worrying.
Firstly, there’s his goal record. Seven Premier League goals this season is hardly a disastrous total. However, he has only scored three in his last 15 matches for the Reds. With the Reds in disastrous form in front of goal, they desperately need these figures to change soon.
Of course, Mane’s lack of goals is not purely down to him. The Reds have been woeful at creating meaningful chances of late, especially at Anfield. However, Mane’s statistics show that something has drastically changed from last season.
His expected goals (XG) actually match up very well with his previous seasons.
Averaging 0.49 goals per game, this is actually higher than his two previous seasons. However, his actual goal return per 90 has been lagging well behind. In his last two seasons, he’s scored on average 0.61 goals per 90, overperforming his XG significantly.
However, this season, he is lagging behind at 0.37 goals per 90.
Now, there is, of course, the theory that Mane is simply returning to the mean of his expected goals. However, it’s expected to see Mane outperforming his XG given his previous form. For reference, Mane’s partner in crime Mohamed Salah has overperformed or matched his XG consistently since moving to Liverpool.
For Liverpool to produce the kind of results that made them champions, they need Mane to perform. Of course, Liverpool are facing other problems. Trent-Alexander Arnold’s poor form and a distinct lack of experienced centre-backs among them.
However, if Sadio Mane can recapture his previous form, it’d be a huge boost for the Reds.