Southampton supporters have been pretty buoyant in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side finally get back to winning ways in the Premier League courtesy of a 3-2 success over West Brom last time out.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s men went into their clash with the division’s basement club having failed to win any of their preceding 12 league games, with their return of six points from a possible 36 seeing them slip into the bottom three. Yet they moved out of the relegation zone last weekend as goals from Mario Lemina, Jack Stephens, and James Ward-Prowse secured a vital three points for the visitors, with Alan Pardew’s side bagging through Ahmed Hegazi and Salomon Rondon but ultimately unable to get the all important third goal to salvage a point.
Consequently, there have been many thrilled Saints fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are looking forward to this weekend’s encounter against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at St Mary’s, with the hosts seeking back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since April last year.
And a number of our resident Southampton fans have been discussing the return of several of their ex-players on Sunday, notably Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk, but there is one man in particular their side must be wary of at St Mary’s, namely Sadio Mane.
The 25-year-old spent two years at St Mary’s between 2014 and 2016 and bagged an impressive 25 goals in just 75 games for the club, thus earning him a mega money move to Anfield in a bid to progress his career at the Premier League giants.
And while he was absolutely magnificent for the Reds last term, arguably becoming their most integral player, many people feel that the Senegal international hasn’t quite enjoyed his best run of form in recent times.
Yet he has still managed six goals and five assists for the Reds in the Premier League this term, with two goals and two assists coming in his last six appearances to suggest that maybe things aren’t quite as bad as some are making out.
Thus, while he may not be hitting the heights of last season, the 25-year-old is very much still playing a part in Liverpool’s success this term, but more importantly, as Southampton fans well know, he has the ability to get back to his very best in an instant.
And there may not be a better place for that to happen than against one’s former club, which is why Pellegrino’s men simply have to be wary of the Senegalese star.
He has that match-winning quality in his locker, regardless of recent form and wavering confidence, so Saints right-back Cedric Soares will have to be on it from the first whistle, while whoever plays in front of him down the right, be it Ward-Prowse or someone else, will also need to do their bit to keep him quiet.
For all the ex-Southampton players likely to be on show on Sunday, Mane is arguably the most dangerous, and could have the biggest say in whether or not the Saints are able to get something from the encounter.
Out-of-form or not, Pellegrino’s men must be wary of their ex-star on Sunday.
Southampton and Liverpool fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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