Mohamed Salah has just been handed a Liverpool problem after Sadio Mane exit

Who is Liverpool’s greatest No 10 as Sadio Mane pleads for the greatest of all time? The curtain has fallen on five remarkable years in the history of Liverpool Football Club. Coincidentally, the period in which the Reds had the incredible front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah lasted exactly half a decade.

The latter, the latest installment of Liverpool’s sharpest trident, joined the club on June 22, 2017 and Mane was unveiled as a Bayern Munich player on the fifth anniversary of his fellow African’s signing for the club. Reds. But whatever dates line up perfectly, the end of their partnership is a sad moment for the club.

Thanks to an incident in a 3-0 win at Burnley at the start of the 2019/20 season, there have been annoying rumors that Mane and Salah don’t get along, or that the Egyptian is selfish and don’t switch to the old one. Southampton man. The truth, unsurprisingly, could hardly be more different.

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Perhaps the idea started because Salah didn’t score a goal for Mane before their 20th game together, a thrilling 4-3 win over Manchester City. But he’s more than made up for it since then, netting 17 assists for the Reds’ No.10, more than he’s provided for any other player, at the rate of one for every 13 matches they’ve both played in.

They also performed in big games, with three more to follow against City. Salah outfitted Mane to score against them in the Champions League win at Anfield in 2018 and then in both league fixtures last season. Add to that goals in the European semi-finals against Roma and Villarreal, as well as new strikes against Arsenal, Atalanta, Bayern and Porto, and that’s the basis of a very impressive collection.

Mane has not only been the biggest beneficiary of Salah’s creativity, no one else comes close. Add the next three in his personal rankings and that only adds up to the 17 goals he has netted for the Senegal international: 10 for Firmino, four for Naby Keita and three for Diogo Jota.

The numbers may not be as big, but so are the opposite direction. Mane scored 13 goals for Salah, comfortably ahead of what he gave Firmino (six), Jota (four) and a trio of players in two. They haven’t featured in matches of equal importance either, with an effort against Genk in the group stage the only Champions League goal Sadio set up for Mo. He signed with a fine assist decisive against Manchester United, however, a goal so good that it entered the recent countdown of Liverpool’s 130 best goals in their history.

That Mane and Salah have been so productive together is no surprise. Pair two players of their quality in 223 games – neither has played more times with anyone in any position in their illustrious careers – and goals and assists are almost inevitable. Salah linked up with Firmino for one more goal than his combination with Mane also generated.

But that doesn’t mean we should ignore that Liverpool are on the verge of losing one of their best attacking duos in the club’s modern history. According to LFCHistory, only four duos have combined to create more goals for the Reds since 1969/70.

Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush lead the list with 48 goals, just ahead of Kevin Keegan and John Toshack – a classic “big man/little man” combination – with 45 goals. They are the only partnerships that 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 goals for each other, Liverpool’s numbers 10 and 11 have both scored in 33 league appearances, the most by two players in England’s top flight for at least the middle of the 1970s. They achieved this in their first game together, a 3-3 draw at Watford, and also their last, a home win against Wolves, to come full circle in their history.

“Five years is all we have,” sang David Bowie. Liverpool and their supporters will be forever grateful to have had as much time to enjoy the combined talents of Mane and Salah as they have.


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