Mohamed Salah Was Recently Presented With A Significant Challenge After Sadio Mane Left Liverpool

As chance would have it, the period in which the Reds have had the incredible front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah has lasted for exactly half a decade.

Who is Liverpool’s greatest number 10 as Sadio Mane makes strong case for best everThe curtain has come down on a remarkable five years in the history of Liverpool Football Club.

The latter, the final prong in Liverpool’s sharpest ever trident, joined the club on June 22, 2017 and Mane has been unveiled as a Bayern Munich player on the fifth anniversary of his fellow African forward signing for the Reds. But irrespective of the dates aligning perfectly, the end of their partnership is a sad moment for the club.

Thanks to an incident which occurred during a 3-0 win at Burnley early in the 2019/20 season, there have been tiresome rumours that Mane and Salah do not get along, or that the Egyptian is selfish and doesn’t pass to the former Southampton man. The truth, unsurprisingly, could hardly be more different

Perhaps the idea began because Salah did not set up a goal for Mane until their 20th match together, a thrilling 4-3 victory over Manchester City. But he’s more than made up for it since, amassing 17 assists for the Reds’ No.10, more than he has provided to any other player, at a rate of one every 13 matches in which they’ve both appeared.

They’ve occurred in some big games, too, with a further three to follow against City. Salah teed up Mane to score against them in the Champions League win at Anfield in 2018, then in both league meetings last season. Add in European semi-final goals against Roma and Villarreal, as well as further strikes against the likes of Arsenal, Atalanta, Bayern and Porto, and there’s the foundation of a very impressive collection.

Mane hasn’t just been the biggest beneficiary of Salah’s creativity, nobody else comes close. Add the next three in his personal assist standings together and it only matches the 17 goals he has lined up for the Senegalese international: 10 for Firmino, four for Naby Keita and three for Diogo Jota.

The numbers may not be as large but the same is true in the opposite direction. Mane has set up 13 goals for Salah, comfortably ahead of what he has given to Firmino (six), Jota (four) and a trio of players on two. They haven’t occurred in matches of the same importance either, with an effort against Genk in the group stage the only Champions League goal Sadio has set up for Mo. He did sign off with a beauty of an assist against Manchester United, though, a goal so good it made it into the recent countdown of Liverpool’s 130 best in their history.

That Mane and Salah have been so productive together is hardly a surprise. Pair two players of their quality over 223 matches – neither has played more times with anyone in any position across their illustrious careers – and goals and assists are almost inevitable. Salah has linked up with Firmino for one more goal than his combination with Mane generated, too.

But that doesn’t mean we should overlook that Liverpool are about to lose one of their finest attacking pairings in the modern history of the club. Per LFCHistory, only four duos have linked up to create more goals for the Reds since 1969/70.

Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush head the list with 48, shortly ahead of Kevin Keegan and John Toshack – a classic ‘big man/little man’ combination – on 45 goals. They are the only partnerships who are more than two goals ahead of Mane and Salah’s efforts together.

Their dynamic will not be easy to replace. Even when not setting up goals for each other, Liverpool’s numbers 10 and 11 both scored in 33 league matches, the most by any two players in the English top flight since at least the mid-1970s. They achieved this in their first game together, a 3-3 draw at Watford, and also their last, a home win over Wolves, to bring their story together full circle.

“Five years, that’s all we’ve got,” David Bowie once sang. Liverpool and their supporters will forever be grateful that they got as much time to enjoy the combined talents of Mane and Salah as they did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.