Steven Gerrard: Liverpool FC are different animal with 25-year-old attacker
The Liverpool FC legend highlights the importance of Sadio Mane to Jurgen Klopp's team
Steven Gerrard has described Liverpool as a different team when Sadio Mane is in the starting line-up.
The Senegal international returned to the Reds team for the trip to the English capital on Saturday evening as Liverpool eased to a 4-1 victory over West Ham United.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp suggested Mane could feature for 20 minutes at the London Stadium following a return from a hamstring injury at the start of October.
However, Mane was named in the Liverpool starting XI and had an immediate impact after a devastating run before he teed up Mohamed Salah to break the deadlock in the 21st minute.
While the Senegal international was unable to score his fourth Premier League goal of the season, Mane created Salah’s second goal in the 75th minute to seal three points.
Former Liverpool captain Gerrard highlighted the importance of Mane to Klopp’s team following the African’s contribution in east London.
“Liverpool are a different animal when he starts because they have more pace in the team, they’re more direct,” Gerrard told BT Sport.
“This fella can create and score out of nothing. Last season he was Liverpool’s best player. He went to the African Nations Cup last year and Liverpool struggled. And I think one of the reasons they struggled over the last few weeks is because he’s been missing.
“He’s very important to this team and one of the key players. He’s a threat all over the pitch.”
Liverpool signed Mane in a £30m deal from Southampton in the 2016 summer transfer window.
The Senegalese forward scored 13 goals and made seven assists in 31 appearances in the Premier League last term.
Liverpool finished in fourth place in the Premier League last term.