It was one of the most impressive Liverpool debuts in recent memory, and for the few fans left not on the Sadio Mané bandwagon, Sunday’s victory over Arsenal at the Emirates and the key role the wide attacker played in it will surely have sealed the deal. And that’s even before getting to his stunning solo strike.
Mané was tough, physical, fast. He helped out in defence, his six tackles more than anyone else on the pitch. His 93% pass completion rate was better than any other Liverpool player—and only late Arsenal substitute Santi Cazorla had a better completion rate of all the payers on the pitch on Sunday.
He worked tirelessly, he used the ball well, he was tenacious—when he seemed at risk of being dispossessed, and even at times when he appeared to have lost out and stumbled, Mané never gave up on the ball and was often rewarded for his efforts. It was a brilliant, staring turn of a league debut for the £34M signing.
On a night without Philippe Coutinho’s headlining goals, he would have been the universal choice for Man of the Match. Even with Coutinho’s two goals, Mané likely deserves that honour. It was a superb performance, and an absolutely stunning debut. And that’s even before getting to the goal.