26 Jul 2016

Top Transfer: Nicol insist Liverpool have signed a £34m game-changer who's 'as good as anyone in the Prem'

Is Sadio Mane a good signing? From a financial perspective, Liverpool have been ripped off yet again, but from a football perspective, there's no denying that Mane is a potentially exciting transfer, and Liverpool legend Steve Nicol is convinced that the Senegalese attacker will prove to be a good signing for the club.

When asked about Mane this week, Nicol told ESPN:

"Sadio Mane, one-on-one, attacking is good as anyone in the Premier League. He can dip his shoulder, and score goals".

Ridiculous 185% price increase notwithstanding (from £11.7m to £34m), Mane is clearly a massive upgrade on Jordon Ibe, and like all Reds fans, I'm hoping he'll be a regular goalscorer and creator for Liverpool.

However, I still can't shake the nagging doubt that Mane will struggle for consistency at Anfield, and the following performance issues form the basis of my concern:

* Southampton Year One: Scored a goal every 215 mins, and created a goal every 385 mins. Individually, these stats are average.

* 2014-15: Failed to create a single goal for 5 months (Dec 28th 2014 till the end of the season). History repeated itself the following season.

* 2015-16: Failed to create a single goal for 5 months (Dec 28th 2015 till the end of the season).

* 2015-16: Failed to score in 16 games in a row (Dec 5th to Mar 12).

* 2015-16: Not in the Premier League's top 20 for assists or key passes.

Many fans will choose to ignore these facts (I wish I could do the same), but going five months without an assist in two consecutive seasons is a huge concern. If Liverpool are to have any chance of challenging for the top four this season, Mane needs to break this particular negative trend, and start contributing in the second half of the season.

The last thing Liverpool need is another Adam Lallana, another ex-Southampton player who is prone to long barren spells.


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