Liverpool rely on their 'Mane' man

Liverpool rely on their 'Mane' man

Liverpool rely on their 'Mane' man
Such is the impact Sadio Mane has made on Liverpool that the 24-year-old is an automatic pick to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday while experienced international team-mates scrap it out to play alongside him.

With the 24-year-old Senegalese on the right flank, Liverpool look a potent attacking force but without him they offer a much paler threat and were uninspiring in his absence in last week’s 2-0 defeat at promoted Burnley.

Juergen Klopp’s side return to north London on Saturday after the fit-again Mane inspired their 5-0 League Cup win over Burton Albion on Tuesday.  One particular moment of sorcery, when he jinked past a bewildered full back to set up Divock Origi’s opener, showed why he is inked into the teamsheet.

The last Liverpool signing to make anything like that immediate impact was Luis Suarez, who hit the ground running, and scoring, in 2011. The Uruguayan formed a deadly partnership with Daniel Sturridge, but the English striker is no longer a guaranteed starter and Klopp must probably select one from Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Origi — all of whom scored against Burton — as Mane’s partner at White Hart Lane.

With Philippe Coutinho awaits a fitness test after straining his hamstring, Klopp is juggling formations as well as personnel in search of the line-up to bury Liverpool’s reputation as the league’s most inconsistent performers, brilliant one week and maddening the next.

That charge could never be levelled against a Jose Mourinho side and the Portuguese takes Manchester United to Hull City with both teams having won their opening two ties.

Even Hull’s most loyal supporters would not have predicted such a start, many fearing early humiliation after a turbulent summer in which their manager Steve Bruce left and Mike Phelan took over in a caretaker capacity.

But Phelan learned how not to panic in his five years as United assistant manager under Alex Ferguson and a win against his former club would probably seal him a permanent deal as a takeover by a group of Chinese investors appears to be nearing completion.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox