LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 4, 2017: Liverpool's Sadio Mane in action against Arsenal during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sadio Mane stresses need for consistency as Liverpool chase top-four finish

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane admits they cannot afford any more inconsistency if they want to qualify for the Champions League.

The 3-1 win over Arsenal at Anfield lifted Jurgen Klopp‘s side back into the top four and dropped their opponents out of it. With the situation so tight at the top – sixth-placed Manchester United are three points behind with a match in hand – Mane said there is no more room for slip-ups like Monday’s 3-1 defeat at Leicester.

“We have 11 games so we will try to concentrate on them all,” said the Senegal international.

“It was very important for us to win this game because last Monday’s game was disappointing.

“For us it will be very important to be consistent now if we are to go up another level.

“We have to work hard.”

Victory also brought up Klopp’s 100th Premier League point in his 57th match, the same as the great Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan (with their records converted to three points for a win) and third-equal in the club’s history.

The German would have achieved it much quicker had it not been for five league defeats to bottom-half teams Burnley, Bournemouth, Swansea, Hull and Leicester, the last of which came on Monday at the King Power Stadium.

Conversely Liverpool have taken 19 points from nine matches against their top-six rivals.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 4, 2017: Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger looks on as Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates the third goal during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I’ve said a few times now, I don’t like the fact that inconsistency is part of the deal in development,” Klopp said.

“Usually you win games and you lose against the big teams because at the beginning, when they are at a higher level, they are smarter and more experienced and you lose the games.

“We’ve chosen another way but it’s still part of the deal and we know that we have to keep on going – and we will.”

Much of the blame for Arsenal‘s first-half performance was laid at manager Arsene Wenger’s door after choosing to drop 20-goal top scorer Alexis Sanchez.

However, defender Hector Bellerin admits there was a greater problem than the absence of the Chile international, who appeared for the start of the second half and set up Danny Welbeck to briefly make the score 2-1 before Georginio Wijnaldum‘s added-time strike supplemented first-half goals from Roberto Firmino and Mane.

“We’re very frustrated with how the game went,” the defender told arsenal.com. “After the tough weeks we’ve had the team should have gone onto the pitch, motivated and ready from the start.

“In the first half it didn’t feel like we were ready and then we went 2-0 down. We got one goal back and had a chance to make it 2-2 but sometimes it’s too late.

“We need to realise that it’s just not the way to go. We need to push harder, to start the games with a better attitude and just go for it because we showed that when we go for it and want something we can do it.

“It doesn’t matter about the other team, when we have the ball and push hard, we can score goals.

“It’s up to us to start the games with that desire, that motivation, and then we can get good results.”

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