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EPL Fantasy Football Preview: Sadio Mane

Its all about the Mane, Mane, Mane as the former Saint becomes a red. Will he be a breakthrough fantasy hotshot?

Plenty of potential
Plenty of potential
Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Cherry pick from Southampton has been the Liverpool way in the last few summers and the change of manager doesn't seem to have deterred them from that transfer strategy

Liverpool's summer spending continued with the purchase of Sadio Mane for £34m.  The senegalese forward joined on a 5 year contract.

What will he bring to the side?

Mane isn't a traditional winger but has played much of his game time on the right side of the Southampton side since joining them in the summer 2014 window.

He is lightning quick, direct and possesses two great feet, something we don't see as often as you may expect.  Should Jurgen Klopp line him up alongside Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge the reds would have a fast and very fluid looking front line.

How did he do in in the Premier League 2015/16 season?

  • 30 games played with 7 as a sub.
  • 11 goals
  • 6 assists
  • An average of 2.3 shots on goal per game.
  • Match key passes 1.1 per game.
  • 4 yellow cards
  • 2 red cards

1 goal in 3 is pretty decent for a player not playing as an out and out forward.  7 of the 11 goals were at home while 4 of the 6 assists were also at St Mary's.

Where can he improve?

Mane at 24 is still improving and Klopp has often see his best result taking young players with potential to a higher level.

At this stage in his career Manes end product remain a hot and cold player.  As likely to fire half a dozen shots into the stands as able to rip apart the best sides in the league.  He does many of the things well that many players struggle with but can fail to play the correct final ball or make good decisions.

He has also had numerous problems with his attitude.  Ronald Koeman was able to handle him well most of the time but showed no known interest in taking him to Everton.   Klopp will look to continue maturing Manes mind expecting a much more consistent player to show himself.

His attitude will also be key when it comes to his defensive role in the side.  Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno are attacking full backs who still have issues at times with the defensive sides of their game.  Should Klopp choose to play Mane, Sturridge and Origi the two that play the wide role will need to ensure they protect the relevant full back when needed.

A good deal?

I think this one suits all parties  Mane had been a character Southampton were having to work hard keeping him grounded.  They have once again made an amazing profit on a player who was bought for just over £11m in 2014.  Their challenge will be to find somebody new all over again to replace a star player leaving too soon.

Liverpool are a much bigger challenge for Mane as they often face sides who defend allowing less space for the attacking players from the opposition.  It's something that Mane make take a while to get adjusted to in the home games in particular.

Finally, in the big games he can be a player who offers Liverpool something extra. He scored hat tricks against both Manchester CIty and Liverpool last season and scored early season at the champions Chelsea.  Tough opposition does not stop Mane succeeding.  Perhaps at this stage of his career he maintains better focus in these games producing better results.

A fantasy football asset?

Mane is one I will take an early season watching brief.  With Jurgen Klopp showing last season that nobody is certain to start in his attack, Mane faces competing with a number of strong options including Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi.  Where he fits in will depend on his performances and we may see him a little in and out if he doesn't settle straight away.

He won't be one for my Official Fantasy Football squad (which we will hopefully get to pick soon) but in the Fantrax format he will be one I will enjoy picking on a fixture and form basis.  The great thing about Mane is he can go huge any particular week.

What are your thoughts, is Mane the right answer for LIverpool and is he an option in your thoughts getting ready to pick our new fantasy sides?