By Harvey Byrne
Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson has claimed that Sadio Mane has transformed the Liverpool side following his summer move from Southampton.
The 24-year-old attacker left the south coast for Anfield for £34million during the last transfer window and he has played a key part in the Reds impressive start to the season.
Known for his quick footwork and electric pace, Mane has starred in seven encounters, scoring three goals and providing three assists.
He has been deployed on the right side of a front three and Thompson states that the Senegal international has brought the one thing the Liverpool side lacked, bringing the best out of Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana.
“If you’re looking at a player who has transformed a side and injected what they needed then it’s Sadio Mane,” said Thompson to the Sky Sports website. “People talk about this Liverpool team suddenly challenging for the title but what’s the difference really been? I think it’s all about Mane and the pace he has injected.
“It is the one thing this Liverpool team lacked. Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana have all been great but they were all there last year and he’s brought the best out of them.
“His pace to drag defenders back allows these players play and I think he’s had a massive impact. In a footballing sense, this guy does everything at 100 miles per hour.
“He destroyed Arsenal in that second half and all of us said he was overpriced but he’s looking like a snip at a fraction of Paul Pogba’s price.”
Mane had previously spent two years at Southampton, where he lit up England’s top flight, making 67 league appearances and scoring 21 goals.
He was brought to the Liverpool squad in the summer, alongside five others as Jurgen Klopp looked to make the side his own in his first summer at the club.
The Merseysiders are now sat in fourth place in the Premier League and two points behind league leaders Manchester City.