Plenty has been made of Liverpool’s central defensive injuries of late but they have also been missing Sadio Mane.
That made a difference in the 1-0 home loss against Brighton on Wednesday which ramps up the pressure on the Reds to beat Manchester City this weekend.
If City win at Anfield, it would be a huge psychological blow for Jurgen Klopp’s side and hand Pep Guardiola’s men a major boost in the title race.
Former Reds defender turned BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson has underlined the importance of Mane being back fit for the crunch clash.
“Jurgen Klopp’s side badly need to win to narrow the gap at the top, but a lot will depend on whether Sadio Mane is fit to lead their attack,” said Lawrenson.
“The Reds need Mane at the moment more than anyone, because on his day he is just unplayable.
Liverpool don’t press the same without him, and their attack is more pedestrian too. Divock Origi or Xherdan Shaqiri won’t cause City anything like the same sort of problems.”
The problem for Klopp is that the drop off between his first choice from three and his reserves is way bigger than it is at City.
They have put this run to the top of the league together without a recognised striker at times.
That’s because they have versatile, quality players all over the pitch and unfortunately for Liverpool, Shaqiri and Origi aren’t at that standard.
City aren’t conceding many goals at all and they’ll fancy their chances of another clean sheet this weekend if they’re facing that pair rather than Mane.
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