Who can replace Sadio Mane at Liverpool or have the Reds already found a replacement?
Liverpool have increasingly looked toothless while attacking down the left flank. The transfer of Sadio Mane has left the Reds meek. Here we look at potential replacements.
Players most stylistically similar to Sadio Mane
Kvaratskhelia is a quick and skilled winger who excels not just in dribbling but also in shooting and creating chances. Aside from his physical and technical abilities, the Georgian usually appears focused and ready to attack at the first opportunity. Spalletti has previously publicly commended his work in this regard.
He is clearly a player who isn’t scared to take chances. His ability to beat his man, particularly during offensive transitions, places him among the players with the most completed dribbles. His numerous unsuccessful attempts. However, are justified by the high value of offensive actions generated by his accomplished dribbles.
Despite these honours, Coman was the sort of player who could be the X-factor in a game due to his tremendous directness and ability to play on either flank. But also had times in games (be it final passes, or shoots on goals) that left you scratching your head.
Coman has consistently been an exceptional ball progressor. That may not be the simplest thing to accomplish when playing for a team like Bayern. When up against a slew of deep blocks, Bayern’s pace, dynamism, and willingness to take players on give a lethal alternate weapon for opportunity creation when Joshua Kimmich’s clipped passes / Thomas Muller’s dexterity / Jamal Musiala’s twinkle toe foot fail.
Pep Guardiola and Jupp Heynckes used a 4-2-3-1 formation with him. In terms of ball development and final product, he flourished in this role.
Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti’s 4-3-3 formation put greater emphasis on wide strikers to contribute directly to goals (better suited to Robben and Ribery at the time). Resulting in him having a very mediocre stay under Ancelotti.
Hansi Flick chose Bayern’s standard 4-2-3-1 formation, with the highest of high lines seen in a long time. With 15 league goals and assists, Coman enjoyed his most consistent and fruitful season in a Bayern uniform. Having scored the winning goal in the UEFA Champions League Final.
He plays on the left wing but can also play in the centre. The Portuguese prefer to sprint out wide, cutting in deep and displaying their natural speed. Last season, he averaged 3.39 dribbles per 90 minutes, placing him in the 96th percentile. He produced six great scoring chances for his squad. His dribbles are mostly from the left side. He dribbles into the area, using his natural speed to keep the opponents guessing. He is confident in his shooting abilities, whether the angle is tight or standard.
In his short playing time, he scored six goals at a rate of 0.38 goals per 90 minutes. He outperformed his xG per 90 of 0.34. Pulisic had an xG per shot of 0.24, putting him in the top 3% of all Premier League strikers. He has also attempted 5 dribbles per game and completed 61.54% of his take-on. Pulisic has outperformed both his xG and xA. In his few Premier League appearances, he has contributed 2 assists at a rate of 0.13. His xA per 90 was 0.08. This season, the 23-year-passing old’s accuracy in the league has been 82.05%. His shots into the final third are accurate 77.78% of the time.
(Stats via Fbref)
Why Luis Diaz might be the perfect replacement for Sadio Mane
Luis Diaz, a high-pressing, agile, and energetic sprinter, fits in ideally with Liverpool’s aggressive style of play. In so many aspects, he’s an exact duplicate of Sadio Mane, from defensive work effort to sheer running strength and creative dribbling.
Diaz is a real warrior on defence. He’s fast to run back in defensive transitions, and he’s never hesitant to stick a foot in and win back possession for his side. From an offensive perspective, the Colombian is a tough 1v1 battler who holds his own well when going the opposite way.
Diaz resembles Sadio Mane not just in defensive work rate, but also in attacking talent and purpose. His finishing boots, like Mane’s, aren’t quite tight enough, but he still scores on a regular basis.
His xG, goal total, and goals-per-shot ratio may all improve, demonstrating Diaz’s inexperience in front of the goal.
Diaz is active not just in front of the goal, but also with the ball at his feet. He enjoys challenging players and exudes class in a hurry. Luis Diaz is nearly hard to disarm since he is so aware of when to hurry up vs. slow down and when to accept stronger touches vs. softer ones. He is, however, significantly more one-dimensional in terms of dribbling power than Mohamed Salah.