Phil Thompson dismisses Sadio Mane's assertions after Liverpool departure as 'too easy'

Authored by
Tue, 14/02/2023
Phil Thompson dismisses Sadio Mane's assertions after Liverpool departure as 'too easy'
Image Credit

Former Liverpool captain Phil Thompson believes it's 'too easy' to blame the Reds' woes on Sadio Mane's departure last summer, but he's perplexed as to why Jurgen Klopp's men can't press like they used to.

Liverpool are 10th in the Premier League table ahead of Monday's Merseyside derby against Everton, having lost seven games this season and are on their worst run away from home since 2012, having lost to Wolves, Brighton, and Brighton so far in 2023.

And, after six consecutive seasons in the Champions League, the Reds are in danger of missing out on Europe's top competition next season, trailing fourth-placed Newcastle United by 12 points.

This season's fortunes are diametrically opposed to last season's, when Klopp's men came within two games of completing the first English four-peat before narrowly losing the Champions League and Premier League to Real Madrid and Manchester City, respectively.

However, with the Reds' early season form raising concerns that they may not be at their best this year, many have questioned the impact of allowing Mane to leave Anfield in the summer and join Bayern Munich in a £35 million deal after six trophy-laden years.

The Senegal international, who was later replaced by 23-year-old Darwin Nunez - a player who is understandably still learning his trade in the English game - had been a key component of Klopp's system both in and out of possession during his time on Merseyside.

However, Thompson, who captained Liverpool to European Cup victory in 1981, believes theories exaggerating Mane's departure to the Bundesliga as the sole reason for Liverpool's downfall are an easy cop-out and believes Klopp must address much more pressing issues if his side is to return to their best.

"I'm not sure how it got that bad, "Thompson stated on the Off the Ball YouTube channel. "You like to think you can come up with solutions; you think tactically, emotionally, and all of that.

"You think it was Sadio Mane? People look back, but I think it's too easy to say it's just Sadio Mane, but the press is just not working anymore, and I'm not sure how or why."

While life after Mane has been anything but easy for those at Anfield, the Senegal international has had anything but a smooth transition to life in Bavaria.

Manager Julian Nagelsmann admitted in September that the 30-year-old needed time to "adapt" to his new team, and despite scoring six goals in 14 Bundesliga appearances, he has not played since November due to a leg injury that has ruled him out of the 2022 World Cup.