Liverpool start favourites as they engage FC Porto in a quarter-final tie in the Champions League next week. In Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, they boast of one of the fiercest front-line in the world. While the Egyptian has stolen the headlines for majority of the last year and a half, Mane has been equally crucial for the Reds.
The Senegal international has peaked in 2019 and has replaced Salah as Liverpool’s biggest threat. His eye for goal has prevented Salah’s slump from affecting Liverpool’s chances in the league title race.
Both the players have breached the 20-goal mark this season in all competitions. But Mane is clearly in better dynamics, peaking right at the business end of the season.
While Salah went through a lean patch where he did not score in eight games before finding the net against Southampton recently, Mane has scored in nine of his last 13 games. 12 of his 21 goals this season has come in 2019. This stat is huge, going into the business end of the season.
Recently, the Senegalese forward scored two past Manuel Neuer to help Liverpool beat Bayern Munich. The hitman has shown that he can step up on the biggest stage against the toughest of oppositions.
His pace, ability to link up and versatility across the front-line makes him a thorn in the opposition’s foot. The 26-year-old prefers to play as a left winger, but he has shown that he can do just as well playing as a left-attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation or as a centre-forward.
While Porto focus on keeping Salah at bay, they must be careful not to show a lot of room to Mane. The forward has shown that he is capable of attacking space and punishing the opposition. He is also a player to watch out for on the counter.
While Roberto Firmino has been cult hero at Liverpool and Salah remains to be the king, Mane has been the toast of the season for the Reds.