Sadio Mane silences doubters in record-breaking Liverpool victory

Max Cooper
A record breaking afternoon for Mane
A record breaking afternoon for Mane / PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

If there's one scene we've missed witnessing on a Saturday afternoon, it's a proper Sadio Mane beaming smile.

The 29-year-old has begun to draw criticism (mainly online, it must be said) from certain sections of the Liverpool fanbase, who believe they're witnessing the beginning of the end of the Senegalese forward's time at the top.

Lfc Ok GIF by Liverpool FC - Find & Share on GIPHY

Well, what better way to silence those doubters, then shoving a double-record breaking afternoon of football down their gobs?

Mane went into the weekend knowing he could join an elite list of players to have scored 100 goals for the Premier League giants, and all he needed was one strike against Crystal Palace to do so. In achieving that feat, he would also break a Premier League record he was currently joint-holding along with Robin van Persie (thanks Opta).

A goal against Crystal Palace would signal the ninth consecutive match in which Mane had found the net in this fixture, going one better than Van Persie's eight successive field days against Stoke City.

The critics said he wouldn't hit the target on Saturday afternoon, demonstrating his apparent fall from grace since the days he was once considered the best asset in this dangerous Liverpool attacking trident.

Well, they were wrong.

In a game which was threatening to become 'one of those days' for the Reds, who had to watch Diogo Jota write his name on the list for the Miss of the Season contenders, Mane came up trumps and burst the dam.

Mane was the man in the right place at the right time to break the Eagles' resilience at Anfield, responding quickest to Vicente Guaita's save from a Mohamed Salah header to knock the ball home from close range.

That strike summoned his wonderful beaming smile, as well as thousands of equally broad grins around Liverpool's famous stadium. It was Mane's 10th goal in all competitions against the Eagles, also meaning an incredible 10% of his goals have come in this very fixture.

His strike broke Palace's resistance, inspiring the Reds to a 3-0 victory and another success at the start of the new Premier League season. Jurgen Klopp's men have kicked off this season in similar fashion to how they ended the last one, and they now look much more like the team that blew their rivals away in 2020.

Mane was crucial to that title-winning side, and he'll be equally as important this time round, should the Merseysiders fancy their chances at another crack at the Premier League summit.

Fortunately for Klopp and all Liverpool fans, their number 10 has got plenty of time left at the top - whether the haters deserve the success he brings or not.