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COMMENT: Why Salah and Mane are Africa's best bets to win the Champions League

18:05 GMT+4 17/09/2019
Sadio Mane Mohamed Salah
The Liverpool duo are in scintillating form, and may well represent the continent's best bet to clinch the UCL crown this season

Ever since Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou inspired Chelsea to lift the 2012 Uefa Champions League, African players have largely struggled to help their respective clubs win Europe's premier club competition.

Then in came Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Egyptian sensation Salah and his Senegalese striking partner formed a mean attacking partnership as Liverpool bagged the 2019 Champions League title, with the duo proving influential as Tottenham Hotspur were downed in the final.

Cameroon’s Joel Matip and Guinea midfielder Naby Keita were also part of this Liverpool side but it was Salah and Mane who were instrumental in this triumph.

Liverpool begin their Champions League title defence away at Napoli, and ahead of the UCL kick-off, they already look like the best bet to win the crown again.

Navigating past Group E, which also includes Genk and Red Bull Salzburg, ought not be a colossal task for a Liverpool side that is already five points clear atop the Premier League.

With Salah and Mane already in sparkling form domestically, and having been consistent for a long period, they can be expected to transfer these scoring exploits to the Champions League.

Each has managed four goals in the Premier League so far after five matches, and that is a clear indication of what to expect from the pair in Europe.

Mane’s brace and Salah’s goal in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Newcastle certainly puts Liverpool in good stead as they arrive in Naples.

Before the Newcastle match, Mane was also on target, while Salah provided an assist for Roberto Firmino in the 3-0 win at Burnley.

Prior to that, Salah had grabbed a brace against Arsenal as Mane scored and created a goal in the away win at Southampton a week earlier.

That was after Salah had found the back of the net in the league opener against Norwich City.

This kind of consistency between the African duo is a cause for concern not just for Napoli, who could be in for a real run in their own backyard, but other Group E teams as well.

On a larger scheme of things, Salah and Mane's current form could arguably make Liverpool favourites to win the Champions League, certainly the bookies believe that Jurgen Klopp's side are favourites to retain the title.

Liverpool have been transformed into a mean machine largely thanks to these African forwards, and with them currently on such a high, enjoying such a dominant winning culture domestically, further European glory surely awaits.