Ex-captain explains key difference between Liverpool forward and Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino

Paul Ince explains what Sadio Mane brings to the Liverpool side that Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino

Paul Ince says Sadio Mane is harder to defend against than Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino thanks to the Liverpool forward’s “pace and trickery”.

The Reds have been without the Senegal international since 2-2 draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in their first Premier League game of 2017 after the winger jetted off to the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this month.

Coutinho has returned to the Liverpool side after recovering from a serious ankle injury but the Brazil international has struggled to find his best form despite being reunited with his friend and colleague Firmino in Jurgen Klopp’s XI.

Indeed, Liverpool have only managed to record one win in seven games since Mane left to compete at the Africa Cup of Nations, which highlights his importance to the Merseyside outfit.

Speaking to BT Sport about the African’s influence on the Liverpool team, the Reds’s former captain Ince said:

“You talk about Origi and Sturridge. Origi gives you a little bit of pace. Firmino and Coutino always want to come to the ball which is easy for Southampton to defend against. That’s why they miss Mane so much. He gives them diversity with his pace and trickery.”

Mane has scored nine times and has made four assists this season.

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