Sadio Mane was showered with praise and described as “a fabulous player” with “nothing to dislike” after yet another game-changing goal over the weekend.
Liverpool lacked attacking penetration for much of the proceedings against relegation-threatened Aston Villa until Liverpool’s No. 10 once again rose to the fore.
Mane has netted 16 Premier League goals across 15 games in 2019/20, all of which have ended in a Liverpool win.
Importantly, five were to open the scoring, two were the only goals of the game and a further two have been to seal a victory for Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds – a man for the big moment.
Since signing for Liverpool in 2016, Mane has made 165 appearances with a return of 79 goals and 34 assists across all competitions, where his goal-scoring contributions and all-round game have proven key to catapulting the Reds to the top of club football.
In yet another consistent campaign, Mane’s name has regularly been thrown in the ring to succeed teammate Virgil van Dijk in clinching the Player of the Year award.
And Graeme Souness is the latest to echo the views of many when running the rule over what Mane offers to Liverpool each and every matchday.
“He’d be the last one I’d want to lose. He’s 28 years old, fantastic attitude, he’s a warrior and it would be far easier to say what he hasn’t got, and I can’t tell you what he hasn’t got,” Souness told Sky Sports.
“He’s spot on with his attitude, aggressive, will not be bullied. I think if you were really aggressive to the others, not so much Firmino [but] Salah you could maybe discourage if the rules were slightly more flexible, but nothing discourages this guy.
“You could see he could deal with the English game [at Southampton] but then again it’s making the jump from Southampton, with all due respect, to a club that’s on the world stage where every game you play it could be the other team’s cup final.
“You don’t get easy games if you’re a Liverpool player. Everyone wants to go to war with you, everyone wants to take you on and everyone wants to beat you, you’re a scalp.
“You don’t know how players will react until you get them in and he’s grown, he’s relished every challenge that comes his way and generally wins every challenge that comes his way.
“He’s a fabulous player, there is nothing to dislike about him. He’s smiley, open and you want to work with people like that.
“I don’t think you’d have to say very much to him in terms of ‘train harder today’ or on match day ‘make sure you’re at it’ – I think it’s inbred in him. I think he’d be an absolute dream to work with.”
Mane’s incredible levels of consistency have now seen him score 20 goals, across all competitions, for three successive seasons following his effort against Villa on Sunday.
The joint Golden Boot winner from last season is currently fifth in this season’s race for the gong, five behind leader Jamie Vardy (21) and just one behind fellow Red Mohamed Salah (17).
As Souness alluded to, Mane is an embodiment of a Klopp team and at 28 years of age is at the peak of his powers, ones which have been key in propelling the club to their world, European and Premier League titles.