Liverpool would’ve beaten Rangers 5-0 if they’d have had Sadio Mane playing instead of Darwin Nunez last night.
That’s the view of TalkSPORT pundit Jason Cundy. Speaking to a fan caller on the show last night, Cundy insisted that Mane would have taken the chances that fell to Liverpool’s new striker.
He’s [Nunez] got to take his chances, that’s the point we’re making. At that level,” said the former player. “The reason I’ve used Mane, Mane scores again tonight [for Bayern]. Mane in that position punished teams, that’s where Liverpool last season they’d probably get fours and fives against Rangers. This season it’s a little but underwhelming. At 2-0 that game is not over and Rangers had a couple of half chances towards the end.
Cundy went on to say that Nunez’s misses could prove costly to them in trickier games further down the line.
“He has just joined Liverpool, a huge football club, massive fee and he hasn’t yet reached the level of Mane. He’s got a long way to go. But if you play in a knockout stage and he gets two chances in a game, he’s got to bury one of those,” he said.
If you really want to analyse the game, you’re looking at Nunez and saying you need him now to start racking those goals up. Not just in games like this where you can bury it but imagine going in against Arsenal on the back of scoring two goals tonight.”
Mane revisionists at it again
It’s true that Liverpool could easily have scored five or six last night. Nunez alone had six shots, with four of them on target.
He wasn’t alone in being wasteful though, Liverpool had 23 shots in total. They found goalkeeper Allan McGregor in good form, but they should have tested him even more than they did.
For Nunez specifically, perhaps only one of his chances could go down as a ‘could have done better.’ He should have shown more composure when put through by a delightful, lofted Jordan Henderson pass early in the first half.
Liverpool would’ve beaten Rangers 5-0
Aside from that, his efforts were snapshots from slightly difficult angles.
As for whether Mane would have scored them, well, that’s simply revisionism at its finest. The £34m signing was a good finisher of course, he wouldn’t have scored 120 goals for Liverpool if he wasn’t.
But anyone posing this argument clearly didn’t watch the Reds all that closely over the last 18 months.
One particular match which highlights this quite nicely is Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Leeds United in September 2021. As per Fotmob, Sadio Mane had 10 shots that day. He did eventually score with his last shot of the game but it was an exhibition in wastefulness. It wasn’t the only time we saw that, either.
Cundy isn’t wrong in some respects, but using Mane as the beacon of chance-taking efficiency is well wide of the mark.