No one will need to explain that Mohamed Salah was comfortably the Reds’ top scorer, with the Egyptian crossing the 30-goal mark for the second time since joining the club.
When it comes to setting goals for his teammates, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino finished ahead of the pack with nine assists each.
But what about Sadio Mane? Few Kopites would say he’s been at his best this season, and the player himself displayed an honesty too rarely seen by professionals when he admitted he had been below par this season. trimester.
“If you ask me what’s wrong, I’ll have a hard time giving you an answer,” he said in an interview earlier this month.
“Personally, I don’t know. I have always tried to be positive whether things are going well or bad. I question myself all the time.
Keep up with the latest breaking news, transfer gossip and everything LFC with thousands of reds!
Join our group for FREE by clicking here!
Still, things have been nowhere near as dark for Mane as many people would automatically assume, especially over the past two months.
He had a streak of six starts without a goal or assists as November turned into December, but his longest streak after that without directly contributing to a goal only extended to three games in the starting XI. .
Liverpool had to make a supreme team effort in the last 10 league games of a testing campaign in order to qualify for the Champions League, and Mane has done more than most to ensure they reach their goal.
The Senegal striker has scored four goals and assisted four more during that span as the Reds came in third place, and no one else in Jurgen Klopp’s squad has made as many contributions as goals.
He didn’t get more than 16 minutes against Aston Villa and Manchester United, leaving the 1-1 draw with Newcastle the only game in the last 10 games that Mane started but neither scored nor scored.
And if we add the ‘home’ game with RB Leipzig, Liverpool’s number 10 closed the 2020/21 season with nine goal contributions in his last 11 starts.
You will also receive the latest transfer discussions and analysis direct to your inbox every day with our FREE email newsletter.
Register here – it only takes a few seconds!
It’s a great comeback in everyone’s books, and especially at the end of the season when goals and assists feel like they count for a little more.
So why do so many people – including the player himself – think he underperformed in 2020/21?
Much of the problem lies with the word “underperformed”. Most players would be delighted to have finished a season with 16 goals and eight assists, but it kind of feels like a massive drop from what Mane normally provides.
This is not in reality however. In his first four years at Merseyside, Mane averaged 27.3 goal contributions per season, with his high of 32 in 2019/20.
Finishing with 24 is obviously not as good, but neither has his record fallen off a cliff. The incredible and unstoppable form of Liverpool’s top three over the past four years has completely rewritten realistic expectations of a striker.
If we look at the 13-year span between the start of the Rafa Benitez era and when Salah was signed, there have only been 10 instances where a Liverpool player has contributed directly to at least 24 goals in one. season (by LFCHistory).
Must-see news from Liverpool FC
Steven Gerrard did it four times, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez each recorded two of those campaigns, while Dirk Kuyt and Daniel Sturridge did it once each.
What would once have been noticeable now seems normal, if not disappointing in Mane’s case.
But if that’s the price to pay to be one of the best strikers in world football with the impeccable standards that such a position demands, then there are certainly worse problems to be had.
And with his form in the final weeks of 2020/21, Mane has helped drag Liverpool into the top four.
If it’s been a terrible season for the ex-Southampton man then the Premier League had better be careful as he seems to be heading for something like his best form.