Merson: Mane’s departure caused Liverpool woes

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Liverpool defensive ability have been a question that needs answers, Paul Merson believes Sadio Mane’s departure caused them defensively.

Skysports pundit Paul Merson believes the departure of former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is part of what is affecting the Reds.

Mane left Liverpool to join the Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich earlier this summer and was replaced by Darwin Nunez.

Liverpool’s defending ability have been questioned this season as they have conceded more goals than they did last season.

Their latest poor defensive performance came in the Premier League last week against Brighton following a 3-3 game.

In his latest column on Skysports the writer insists that the decision to let Sadio Mane leave this summer cause their defensive errors this season.

“I’ve said it from day one, in my opinion, selling Sadio Mane was the worst business ever” Merson wrote.

“The bloke scores big, big goals. Go through them, first goals, equalisers, winning goals in last minutes, big goals.”

He added that his replace Darwin Nunez doesn’t worth it, Merson believes Mane is far above the former Benfica striker.

“He led from the front with his closing down, and for me, what they sold him for, I just didn’t get it. Darwin Nunez isn’t in the same league at the moment. Not in the same league at all.”

Merson claims their problem at the back starts from the front as opponent take advantage of how they press and exploit the space.

“Their problems at the back start from the front. They’re not closing down as a unit – you can go on about how talented that front three was, but they closed down from the front. It only took one more pass, and they’d score.

“Now they don’t – so teams get through that press, if there is one, then they’re into a midfield three which isn’t the best in the country, and then you’re running at the back four.

“How many players have run at Van Dijk this season, compared to the last three or four years?

“It doesn’t matter how good a player you are when you’ve got people running at you left, right and centre.

“I’m not a stats person, so I’m just going off the top of my head – but for me, Mane was a big, big player for Liverpool. To sell him for £30m-odd, which in the world of the Premier League is a cup of tea, wouldn’t they have been better off to keep him and let him go for free?”



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