Belfast Telegraph

How Liverpool have fared without Sadio Mane

Liverpool must again do without Sadio Mane for several weeks due to a hamstring injury.

The influential forward - and Ballon d'Or nominee - could miss up to six weeks after suffering the injury on international duty with Senegal, the club have revealed.

It is not the first time Liverpool have lost Mane for an extended spell since signing him last summer, and here Press Association Sport looks at how the Reds have fared without the 25-year-old:

Liverpool's 2016-17 season fell apart during Mane's absence at the African Nations Cup in January - in the seven matches he missed, their only win came against League Two Plymouth in an FA Cup replay.

Their two Premier League matches in that period brought a creditable 1-1 draw away to Manchester United but also a 3-2 home defeat to Swansea which dropped them to fourth in the Premier League - the position in which they would ultimately finish.

They also lost each leg of their League Cup semi-final to Southampton 1-0 and, after a goalless draw and 1-0 win against Argyle, exited the FA Cup 2-1 against Wolves.

They have already had to cope without Mane for some of this season, domestically at least, after his red card against Manchester City led to a three-match ban.

It was during that run of fixtures that concerns over Liverpool's accuracy in front of goal came into sharp focus - Jurgen Klopp's side had 79 shots in the games he missed, just 18 of which were on target.

That brought them only four goals across a 1-1 Premier League draw with Burnley and back-to-back meetings with Leicester, who knocked Liverpool out of the Carabao Cup before the Reds responded with a 3-2 league win.

He has scored three goals in his five Premier League games this term, one of which was his abbreviated appearance against City, and his absence for big games against Manchester United on Saturday and Tottenham next week potentially spells bad news for Liverpool.

Since the start of last season with Mane in the team, they have won 19 of 32 Premier League games and averaged 2.2 goals and 2.1 points per match in the process. Without him, that drops to six wins from 13 with 1.6 goals and 1.7 points per game.

Though currently seventh in the table, Liverpool are only a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea and two behind Spurs in third. Needless to say, though, the quickest way to make up that deficit would be by beating the latter and w ithout Mane, that appears less likely - in turn putting more pressure on the remaining games he is expected to miss, against Huddersfield, West Ham and Southampton.

Mane has been held scoreless in four Champions League appearances so far this season but, having set up Philippe Coutinho's equaliser against Spartak Moscow last time out as well as Emre Can's opener in the play-off first leg against Hoffenheim, will be missed in two Group E games with Maribor and one against Sevilla.

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