Sadio Mane says the 2020-21 campaign has been “the worst season of my career”, with the Liverpool forward unable to explain individual and collective struggles at Anfield.
On the back of bringing a 30-year wait for title glory to a close, the defending Premier League champions have endured a humbling fall from grace this term.
Key men, including Mane, have seen standards dip, while injury issues have done little to aid the efforts of Jurgen Klopp and a team still scratching around for a top-four finish.
Mane told Canal Plus of a testing campaign for everyone on Merseyside: “This is the worst season of my career. I have to admit it.
“If you ask me what is wrong I will struggle to give you an answer. Personally I don’t know.
“I have always tried to be positive, whether things are going well or badly. I question myself all the time.
“I even underwent a test to take a look at my body. Am I eating the right foods, or has everything changed? But they checked the test results, and everything is fine.
“I need to understand that in life there are ups and downs.
“I will keep on working hard – and perhaps in time this situation will pass.”
The 29-year-old winger has broken through the 20-goal barrier in each of the last three seasons, but has found the target just 14 times in the current campaign.
Of those efforts, only nine have come in Premier League competition. He did find the net on his most recent outing against former club Southampton, but has just three strikes to his name across his last 13 appearances in all competitions.
Change is now being mooted in the final third at Anfield, with Mane among those to have generated transfer talk heading towards the summer window.