Sadio Mane has come under the spotlight in Germany after poor form with Bayern Munich – and it shows problem Liverpool have faced.
It would appear the effects of Liverpool’s thrilling but exhausting quadruple chase of last season continue to linger way beyond the confines of the AXA Training Centre.
That the Reds expended so much physical and mental energy in their attempt to chase down four trophies has long been attributed as a contributory factor to the sluggish start that set the tone for a tortuous campaign this time around.
Injuries, fatigue and a lack of rest and proper preparation have all played their part, along with the need to refashion the forward line following the departure of Jurgen Klopp mainstay Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich last summer.
But, if word coming out of Bavaria is to be believed, the Senegalese forward has been similarly affected after an indifferent run of form saw him substituted at half-time in the 2-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend that knocked Bayern off the top of the Bundesliga.
There is consideration for the injury Mane suffered in November that ruled him out of the World Cup and sidelined him for three months. But the suggestion is the forward has lost the speed and explosiveness for which he became synonymous at Liverpool, and, in a surprise for anyone who watched him play regularly for the Reds, he has been losing too many duels during games and in training.
The report, which also claims Mane is struggling with his positioning and is regularly caught offside as a consequence, says Bayern have by no means given up on the player, but are curious as to why he hasn’t yet been able to replicate his Liverpool form.
But Mane is not alone in struggling somewhat after departing Anfield during the Klopp era. From established first-teamers to fledgling youngsters, the leaving of Liverpool has proven difficult for many.
Witness the troubles this season of Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino, who left for AC Milan and Monaco respectively last summer. Origi has since started only six times but will have a Champions League quarter-final to look forward to next month, while Minamino has started only one Ligue Un game since the beginning of the year.
Gini Wijnaldum, who departed Anfield in 2021, wasn’t a regular at Paris Saint-Germain last season and then broke his leg shortly after joining Roma on loan this term, although he is now back fit and still in the Europa League. Xherdan Shaqiri exited the same summer but lasted barely six months at Lyon before moving to MLS side Chicago Fire.
Young duo Rhian Brewster and Ki-Jana Hoever have failed to properly kick on at Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively, while Neco Williams has started only two Premier League games at Nottingham Forest since November.
Of course, there are those who have gone on to prosper, such as Emre Can, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Danny Ings, Simon Mignolet, Dominic Solanke, Marko Grujic and the recently-retired Lucas Leiva, although not quite at the same level as was offered at Liverpool. And certainly none could be regarded as regulars for the Reds during their final seasons under Klopp, largely spared the physical and mental intensity.
And while Philippe Coutinho’s issues post-Liverpool have been well documented, the Brazilian could take significant solace in two La Liga titles and a Copa del Rey at Barcelona, along with a league and cup double and Champions League triumph when on loan at Bayern Munich.
Mane will surely come good in Germany, and knows a thing or two about beating Manchester City – who Bayern face in Europe next month – in a Champions League quarter-final. But his travails highlight again both how Klopp regulars find it testing when seeking pastures new – and the impact Liverpool’s last season has had.