Steven Gerrard: Liverpool have missed this player so much, he’s top class
The former Liverpool captain highlights the absence of Sadio Mane
Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool have really missed Sadio Mane during the forward’s participation at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Senegal international headed off to the major tournament earlier in January after Mane scored in a 2-2 draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
The 24-year-old scored nine goals and made four assists in his opening 18 games in the 2016-17 Premier League campaign following his big-money summer move.
Indeed, Jurgen Klopp made the forward his most-expensive signing of his Anfield reign so far after Mane swapped Southampton for Liverpool in July.
The Reds have struggled without Mane’s pace in their side over the past six games, with Liverpool recording just one win during that miserable run of results.
Speaking to BT Sport ahead of Liverpool’s clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup fourth round, the club’s former captain Gerrard highlighted Mane’s absence as a decisive factor in their poor run of form.
“It is clear. Sadio Mane is a top player. Liverpool have missed him so much. He comes with that pace and unpredictability,” Gerrard said.
“To stretch teams, you need pace in behind. Two or three defenders have to worry about him which leaves gaps all over the pitch.”
Liverpool finished in eighth place in the Premier League table last term.