Goal Analysis: Sadio Mane – Liverpool 4-3 Red Bull Salzburg 2/10/2019

Goal Analysis: Sadio Mane – Liverpool 4-3 Red Bull Salzburg 2/10/2019

Sadio Mane opened the scoring for Liverpool in their win over his former club Red Bull Salzburg.

The move starts with Liverpool in possession on their right, then spreading it out to Andy Robertson on the opposite flank.

Liverpool spread the ball to their left flank
Liverpool spread the ball to their left flank

Andy Robertson sends the ball down the line to Mane, who allows the ball to roll across him and goes on the attack. Rasmus Kristensen has given him space on the ball but with Takumi Minamino tracking back, Mane has to move quickly.

Mane receives the ball
Mane receives the ball

Kristensen positions himself to block a run down the line and shapes his body as if he expects to run in that direction, however he leaves a lot of space inside for Mane to cut inside on his stronger right foot.

Kristensen positions to block a run down the outside, but leaves space for Mane to cut inside
Kristensen positions to block a run down the outside, but leaves space for Mane to cut inside

Mane has enough space that he could probably just cut inside and speed past Kristensen, however he plays along with Kristensen, dribbling towards him with his hips facing down the line. As Mane nears Kristensen with his body still shaped for a run down the outside, the Dane commits his body weight to defending that run, but at the last moment Mane cuts inside. Having committed to defending down the line, Kristensen can’t turn quick enough and Mane gets past him.

Mane shapes to go outside
Mane shapes to go outside
Mane cuts inside
Mane cuts inside
Kristensen's body weight is commited to blocking the run outside
Kristensen’s body weight is committed to blocking the run outside
Kristensen can't turn quick enough to stop Mane going past him
Kristensen can’t turn quick enough to stop Mane going past him

Although he’s beaten Kristensen, Mane now encounters a fresh problem. Firstly, he’s still a bit far out and at an awkward angle to shoot, so that isn’t a realistic option for him. Ahead of him, Jerome Onguene is in a position to smother if he continues advancing into the box, shaping his body as Kristensen did but not giving Mane the same space inside. On top of this, Enock Mwepu is quickly closing down Mane in an effort to cover Kristensen.

Mane isn't in a good position to shoot. Onguene is in a good position to defend. Mwepu is closing Mane down.
Mane isn’t in a good position to shoot. Onguene is in a good position to defend. Mwepu is closing Mane down.

Caught between four players, Mane instead quickly offloads the ball to Roberto Firmino inside then continues his run into the box. Onguene and Mwepu had limited Mane’s ability to continue running forward with the ball, but offloading it to Firmino forces them into turning in the Brazilian’s direction. Onguene has to do a full 180° to face Firmino while Mwepu’s attention is also diverted so that he stops running after Mane.

Mane offloads the ball to Firmino. Mwepu stops tracking Mane while Onguene has to turn to defend.
Mane offloads the ball to Firmino. Mwepu stops tracking Mane while Onguene has to turn to defend.

As he does so often, Firmino takes a brilliant little touch to roll the ball into the path of one of his teammates. A first-time pass in behind the defence plays in Mane to finish with neither Onguene or Mwepu able to get to the ball ahead of him. Mane offloading the ball simply gets Mwepu to stop tracking him, while Onguene having to change direction to face Firmino cuts away at his speed – he goes to chase after Firmino’s pass but he can’t win a foot race against Mane, who has continued to sprint in the same direction while Onguene was busy turning.

Firmino plays in Mane to finish. Mwepu hasn't followed Mane while Onguene can't get close enough to Mane from a standing start.
Firmino plays in Mane to finish. Mwepu hasn’t followed Mane while Onguene can’t get close enough to Mane from a standing start.

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