Sadio Mane almost single-handedly defeated Southampton on Saturday and Saints coach Ralph Hasenhuttl was left with no choice but to pay tribute to Liverpool’s number ten, speaking to the club’s official YouTube channel.
Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse told Goal last month that Mane should be in contention for the 2019 Ballon d’Or and while the cynics may have scoffed at such an assessment there’s no doubt that the 27-year-old is in the form of his life.
Back at the club where he made his name in English football, Mane fired a below-par Liverpool into a lead at the end of the first half with a stunning strike from the edge of the box before setting up Roberto Firmino to claim a hard-fought 2-1 win.
His Man of the Match display came just three days after a clinical brace in the Super Cup win against Chelsea too – and Hasenhuttl believes that his Southampton side simply couldn’t deal with an ‘unbelievable’ attacking talent at St Mary’s.
“We didn’t give many chances away,” said the former RB Leipzig boss. “But when there’s a player like Mane, in such a moment, you see all his quality. Unbelievable.
“Then you are one down and it isn’t easy to take.”
Liverpool were far from their best on the South Coast but with Mane on the pitch, anything is possible.
An exciting if erratic forward at Southampton has developed into a genuine match-winner under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and there’s a daunting sense that he hasn’t even reached his potential yet.
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