Mark Lawrenson explains why Liverpool can’t make Sadio Mane excuse

The ex-Liverpool defender addresses the absence of Sadio Mane

Mark Lawrenson has rubbished the suggestion that Sadio Mane’s absence is the only reason behind Liverpool’s dramatic slump in form.

The Reds crashed out of the League Cup on Wednesday night after a disappointing 1-0 loss to Southampton in the second leg of their semi-final following Shane Long’s late winner on Merseyside.

Liverpool have struggled to build any momentum in 2017 so far despite ending last year on a high note with a 1-0 win against title rivals Manchester City on New Year’s Eve.

The Reds have been without Mane for their last six games after the Senegal international scored in a 2-2 draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light before heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Speaking to BBC Sport about Liverpool’s upcoming home clash against Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup fourth round, ex-Reds defender Lawrenson refused to accept Mane as the only reason behind their slump.

“Liverpool have lost the attacking edge they had earlier in the season and it is not just down to Sadio Mane being away with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations,” Lawrenson said.

“They have scored only five goals in their past six matches – talk about having a dry January. Yes, they do miss Mane, but there is more to it than that.

“Opposition teams have seen how Liverpool always try to cut inside or play quick one-twos when they come forward, and they are ready for it now.”

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Liverpool are in fourth place in the Premier League table and 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.

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