foot weakness

Sadio Mane: The Perfect ‘Klopp Player’ |

I did a similar article to this on Roberto Firmino back around the time Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 4-2 at Selhurst but this one will have a little bit of a twist so bare with me. After Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, Sadio Mane has now made 24 appearances for Liverpool in competitions and scored 11 goals, assisting a further 6. He’s been on fire since day one of the season when he burst through 3 Arsenal defenders to hammer into Petr Cech’s top corner with his weak foot in a 4-3 thriller at the Emirates and if anything he just keeps getting better. Some might say he’s becoming the perfect Jurgen Klopp footballer. 

Goals, Assists and Pace to Burn |

Much was made of Mane’s signing during the Summer and Southampton were seen by many to have managed to rob Liverpool by taking 35 million for the Senegalese’s services. The general view was that Mane was a talented footballer but performed solely in patches and with papers reporting him having a strained relationship with then manager Ronald Koeman, it was believed there could be attitude problems below the surface too. 

There have been absolutely none of those issues so far for Liverpool and it’s starting to look as if the 35 million paid for him was an absolute steal. The speedster has already equalled his Premier League goal tally of the previous two seasons - he managed 11 strikes in both 2014/15 and 2015/16 for the Saints - and his longest spell without a goal is two league matches which quells any fears of constant inconsistency. He’s also managed to lay on 4 league assists for his team mates - 5 if you include winning penalties - and provided a further 2 in the EFL Cup. 

It’s no secret that even with Mane possessing impressive finishing ability, quality vision and a telling relationship with his fellow attackers, his biggest asset and weapon is his incredible pace. The forward has the ability to cover distances both short and long in absolutely no time at all and his superb reaction times just add to his explosiveness. His ability to stay relatively ahead of the play - both in game intelligence and physical pace - sees him make his way into the box for most of the Reds attacks and allows him to find himself in the right place at the right time more often than not. Even when he’s not directly involved in the goal, his pace is more often than not involved in build up play with the game against Middlesbrough being a prime example. 

Intelligence and Commitment Off the Ball | 

While nobody will claim that defending from the front is something that looks to come as naturally to Mane as it does to someone like Firmino, it’s an area of his game that is constantly improving. When you think back to earlier games this season he often just tried to use his pace to scare opponents, charging into them during the press but more often than not causing them to lose balance and conceding silly fouls. Now however he’s far more intelligent in his work off the ball, taking up better positions and using his pace only when it’s needed. 

Watch his second goal against Tottenham. The Senegalese catches Eric Dier dallying on the ball, nips in and steals it off his toes before laying off a scoring chance for Lallana. While it took a few goes to finally have the ball in the net, the goal was made entirely by Mane’s knowledge of when to try and take the ball and his commitment to do so and get on the break. Even when things aren’t going the Reds way the winger never stops running, trying his hardest for the entirety of the 90 minutes and putting in the hard yards as much as he physically can. 

Perfect Fit for Klopp | 

Goals, assists, work rate, pace, intelligence and a sense of humility. Every single quality Jurgen Klopp could ask for in a forward is possessed in abundance by Sadio Mane and there is absolutely no denying that he is the perfect fit for Klopp’s Liverpool team and the system he evidently wants to implement. Many fans - myself included - baulked at the fee the Reds paid in the Summer and were hoping desperately that he’d be able to prove us drastically wrong. Now, in February, with Mane our top scorer and fast becoming one of our most valuable and important players it’s practically impossible to deny that he’s done just that. 

The Dance can, with the aid of music, rise to the heights of poetry. On the other hand, through an excess of gymnastics it can also degenerate into buffoonery. So-called “difficult” feats can be executed by countless adepts, but the appearance of ease is achieved only by the chosen few
—  August Bournonville
Maybe try to understand this fact:

Saying a dancer did a good job with something is not the same as saying they’re the best at something.

(Alternate text: just because someone said a dancer is good at something doesn’t mean they’re saying that person is better than your favourite little dancer so calm the fuck down).

I’m still kind of incredulous at the anon who acted like I committed some sort of mortal sin for saying Kendall’s pirouettes were lovely in the recent group dance.

I mean, they are lovely, and I felt the need to compliment them because I’ve previously found Kendall’s pirouettes atrociously rough around the edges. For having such a strong centre Kendall has a weak supporting foot and bad posture on her pirouettes. So to see her do two lovely, controlled triple pirouettes with nice preparation, arms that look graceful and her head isn’t edging forward like it usually does, well, that should be applauded.

Oh wow, she had a low releve? Do you people know how to critique anything other than releve? It’s not the worst it’s been for Kendall, but also with the height and structure of the heels they were wearing, it’s a lot harder to pull up your heel than it is in a jazz shoe or barefoot.

I think it’s a valuable thing to accept, as people who fancy themselves the authority on dancers and technique (let’s face it, we all think we know shit about shit). There’s so much focus on dancers being BETTER than other dancers and not on dancers doing well for themselves.

And for that reason I hope a good 80% of you never become dance teachers.

Here’s an example. Two of my students in my junior tap class, A and J, are both at different skill levels. A is nine but is in her fourth year of tapping. She struggles with rhythm and memorizing choreography and takes longer to pick things up. J has only been tapping just over a year but at 11 has a more adept mind at picking up choreography and concepts. Pullbacks, wings and other tricks are no issue for her, and pretty much everything I teach her she either understands right away or keeps working until she understands it.

Lately A has been making a lot of strides. She’s gotten her four-count pullbacks and changing pullbacks (her four-count are actually better than her two-count) and counts music a lot better. She is still leagues behind J, but she’s been getting heaps of praise lately because she’s demonstrated an ability to improve, and her confidence is soaring. J, who still receives her fair share of praise, is mature enough to understand that compliments to A don’t take anything away from her and that she is still working very hard and is very good.

It’s not a result of this “everyone gets a trophy” culture we live in with regards to kids in competitive environments (I actually don’t think that’s the case ALL of the time — certainly SOME of the time though). It’s a result of being a decent human being and knowing that good work needs to be recognized. Kids can be very hard on themselves and I prefer to be the kind of coach who relieves that.