Mane’s role in Liverpool team has unrealised importance, suggests Jenas

Sadio Mane's importance to Liverpool was exposed during their resounding defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday.

That's according to Jermaine Jenas who believes the Senegalese forward's absence played a major role in Liverpool's loss.

The 28-year-old is currently out of action having tested positive for coronavirus and is self-isolating.

Liverpool lost 7-2 to Aston Villa on Sunday in what was a shocking defeat to the Premier League champions.

A first half Ollie Watkins hat-trick meant Liverpool went in at the break 4-1 down.

But things didn't get any better after the interval. A Ross Barkley debut goal and brace from Jack Grealish compounded Liverpool's misery.

Jenas pointed to a few factors for Liverpool's loss but singled out Mane's absence.

"I just felt that, tonight, there comes a point as a player when you go ‘it’s not working’," he said on Match of the Day 2.

"It was clear the importance of Mane to that high press. He is always the one who sets the tone.

"But what is the number? Is it when they get in behind five times? Is it when they get in behind 10 times? Because that did happen today.

"At some point, and usually there is a Jordan Henderson figure in there – I would have expected it from Van Dijk – you go ‘look, it’s not working’.

"Dean Smith and his Villa team, they looked at Liverpool’s previous games and have gone ‘they play a high line, we will execute it in training and we are going to get in behind’.

"That’s a worry for Liverpool that teams can look at them and go ‘this is how we are going to beat them’."

The result was Liverpool's biggest defeat since 1953 when they lost 7-1 to Sunderland.

Jurgen Klopp's side also became the first reigning champions to lose by seven.

"Who wants to lose 7-2?" the Liverpool boss said at full-time. "Years ago we told ourselves we wanted to create history. That was history but obviously the wrong type."

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