The Reds legend believes the Senegal international remains integral to Jurgen Klopp’s plans despite struggling for end product over recent weeks
Sadio Mane is a “package deal” for Liverpool and little should be read into his recent struggle for goals, says John Barnes.
The Senegal international has been a prolific presence for the Reds throughout a memorable spell on Merseyside.
A healthy return of 88 goals has been recorded through 193 appearances, with those efforts helping to deliver Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and Premier League crowns.
Mane has, however, found the target on just two occasions through his last 13 games, and three times in 18 outings.
He is not the first to endure such a drought, with Roberto Firmino seeing his value called into question when going through a barren run, but Barnes sees no cause for alarm at Anfield.
The Reds legend told BonusCodeBets on Mane’s contribution: “This is very much the same thing we talked about last year with Firmino; where we won the league by 20 points yet people were complaining that he wasn’t scoring enough goals. Yet, he was playing every game and contributing to the team’s overall performance.
“Firstly, it’s important to remember that Mane has been one of the most important players in the team and his form is excellent. Perhaps not excellent in terms of number of goals scored, but excellent in terms of what he does for the team. I’d even say that Mane has a lot to do with why we’re at the top of the league; and that’s done both on and off the ball.
“His goalscoring, his creativity – it’s a package deal. So I don’t see why it’s all doom and gloom for a team that’s top of the league.
“And yes, the last two games haven’t gone our way, but that could easily be turned around and I expect them to do so.
“So I don’t think it’s fair on anyone in that team to start complaining and saying that the players are under-performing, when this is exactly what happens in football. You win some and you lose some – simple as that.
“But Liverpool is a fantastic team and the way they play shouldn’t be criticised nor scrutinised. Like any team, you’ll have good days and not so great days – but it all comes down to consistency; and that is something that this team has proven to be.”
Mane drew his latest blank in a 1-0 defeat against former club Southampton, with the defending Premier League champions now winless in three and offering hope to the chasing pack that they could be knocked from the loftiest of perches.