Senegal star main man as Liverpool close on League knockouts
Sadio Mane has, in the words of Liverpool team-mate Andy Robertson, “taken his game to another level”, stepping out of Mohamed Salah’s shadow to become arguably the main man at Anfield.
The Senegal international shares star billing with Salah and Roberto Firmino as part of the European champions’ electrifying and fluid front three.
But this year Mane is leading Liverpool’s charge, his goal at Selhurst Park at the weekend was his 12th of the campaign and his 29th for the club in the calendar year.
Mane frightens defences with his pace, direct running and skill and his goal return has eased the burden on the shoulders of Salah.
Liverpool defender Robertson praised Mane after his goal in the 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace, which kept Liverpool eight points clear of second-placed Leicester in the Premier League.
On Wednesday he will train his sights on Napoli in the Champions League, with a win guaranteeing Liverpool top spot in the group.
“He has been fantastic,” said Robertson. “Even when I came he was amazing but maybe did not have as much composure as he does now in front of goal.”
“Now, every time he’s in front of goal you don’t think he’ll miss. The one he had at the start of the second half (of the Palace game), we were surprised he didn’t score and that is the type of player he is. You expect him to score and that is a good thing and he’s popped up with another crucial goal.”
“The others are pitching in as well but it’s been a fantastic year for him and he’s taken his game to another level,” Robertson added.
Mane joined Liverpool in 2016, a year before Salah, but the Egyptian quickly became the alpha male at Anfield, scoring 44 goals in all competitions in a remarkable debut season in 2017/18.
Last season the two players shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with the three forwards all scoring 22 goals. -AFP