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‘Mane has lost belief during goal drought’ – Liverpool forward will rediscover spark, says Aldridge

The Senegal international has not found the target in Premier League competition since opening the scoring in a Merseyside derby date with Everton

Sadio Mane has “lost a little bit of belief in front of goal” after going six Premier League games without finding the target, says John Aldridge, with a lack of end product “playing on his mind”.

A previously prolific presence for the Reds has found the target just once through his last 11 appearances in all competitions.

That solitary effort came in a 5-0 Champions League mauling of Atalanta, with his last league goal coming in a Merseyside derby date with Everton on October 17.

An impressive return of 86 strikes for Liverpool through 186 outings suggests that the Senegalese star will come good again at some point, but Aldridge admits a spark is missing at present.

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The former Reds striker told the Liverpool Echo after seeing a talismanic figure draw another blank in a 4-0 victory over Wolves: “I felt a little bit for Sadio Mane who deserved a goal for another tremendous performance and it was a pity the last one was taken off him and given as an own goal.

“He’s playing really well but hasn’t scored in the league since the derby at Goodison and it may just be playing on his mind a touch.

“He seems to have lost a little bit of belief in front of goal and I know what that’s like but he’s just got to keep getting into the positions and the goals will flow again soon, I’m sure of it.”

While Mane missed out on filling his boots against Wolves, Liverpool were delighted to welcome 2,000 supporters back into Anfield.

Aldridge hopes attendance figures will continue to rise over the coming months, with coronavirus-enforced restrictions starting to ease.

He added: “It was brilliant and quite emotional to see supporters back in Anfield for the first time since the pandemic struck and there’s no doubt at all it helped the players.

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“As Jurgen Klopp said, Liverpool fans always raise the bar and whether people like it or not, that’s the truth. Our people are special and showed it again on Sunday night.

“As a player, you’re always going to respond to that and it really was wonderful to see and hear.

“There’s a big carrot for fans now because, if people stick to what they’ve been told to do, bit-by-bit hopefully we can get more of them back in the ground sooner rather than later.

“That’s the incentive for people to act sensibly in the build-up to Christmas and over the holidays and if they do, hopefully we will see the numbers of fans allowed into the ground rise which is what we all want.

“We really don’t want to see it get knocked back again because you could see against Wolves what it meant to the team and the manager to have 2,000 in so, if everyone plays their part, hopefully it can be 15,000 soon and more after that.

“But the only way that can happen is if people do what they have to do to beat this virus so let’s everyone bear that in mind.”

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