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Sadio Mane continues to be one of Liverpool’s most important players. But does he get the credit he deserves?
His teammate Mohamed Salah often gets labelled as the underrated one. And that is perhaps understandable. The Egyptian continues to smash records all over. His critics come when a brief dry spell arrives, but that is only because he has set such high standards.
Salah has 30 goals and 14 assists in all competitions this season. Mane meanwhile has 20 and three respectively. Both players have played 45 matches. It shows just how crucial the duo is to Jurgen Klopp.
How underrated is Sadio Mane?
Statistics are, of course, just one aspect to the modern game. They are important, but Klopp much prefers desire and teamwork. The manager stresses such attributes daily, and Mane has certainly risen to the challenge.
As ever, the transfer rumours were flying last summer. Mane leaving Liverpool was one such rumour. But like always, it was all talk. The Senegal international has been one of the team’s most important players.
In this season’s Premier League, he has netted 14 goals. Only four players have more. The attacker has also found the net four times in the Champions League, and twice in the FA Cup. Those tallies look set to increase as the Reds continue to fight on all fronts.
Salah, however, has definitely stolen the spotlight. Even new face Luis Diaz is getting much of the plaudits in the final third. Virgil van Dijk meanwhile has been as impressive as ever at the back. And Thiago has completely stolen the show in midfield.
But Mane’s efforts mustn’t go unnoticed. His attacking and indeed defensive shifts have been nothing short of phenomenal. The winger not only helps his fellow attackers going forward, but provides plenty of assistance to left-back Andy Robertson on the defensive side of things.
It’s worth remembering that the Senegal star has also won an international trophy this year. He was crucial as his country lifted the Africa Cup of Nations trophy.
Jurgen Klopp balancing Liverpool attacking options
As mentioned, the Reds are fighting on all fronts. They have already clinched the League Cup, and can soon do the same with the FA Cup. The Merseyside outfit are also battling it out for the Premier League and Champions League.
Such a full fixture list means Klopp must keep his players fresh. And that means picking and choosing a front three from his five world-class options. Salah and Mane are seemingly the main men when it comes to the starting XI. At least one of the African stars is usually included in each match.
But that is not to say the other options are no less valuable. Liverpool fans genuinely cannot believe the players available in the final third. They have suffered long enough with underperforming players going forward. But that is no more, with Diaz, Diogo Jota, and of course the hugely talented Roberto Firmino all vying for selection.