Mane on course to become a Liverpool god like Barnes, says Carragher

Sadio Mane Liverpool 2020-21
A Reds legend talked up the impact the Senegalese winger has had at Anfield after watching him inspire an impressive win over Chelsea

Sadio Mane is on course to become a Liverpool "god" like John Barnes, according to Jamie Carragher.

Mane opened his account for the new season with a brace against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, as Liverpool won 2-0 to extend their perfect start.

Jurgen Klopp's men picked up a nervy 4-3 victory over Leeds on the opening weekend, but were far more composed against the Blues, who were reduced to 10 men just before half-time after Andreas Christensen hauled Mane to the ground as he raced through on goal.

Mane went on to break the deadlock shortly after the interval, heading home a pinpoint Roberto Firmino cross as the Reds seized control of proceedings with the help of substitute Thiago Alcantara, who made his debut following a £20 million ($26m) move from Bayern Munich.

Chelsea's misery was compounded when Kepa gifted Liverpool a second moments later, firing a lazy pass out from the back straight into the path of Mane, who produced a cool finish to capitalise on the Chelsea goalkeeper's inexplicable error.

Mane has now scored 83 goals in 173 appearances across all competitions for Klopp's side, and Carragher believes he is already on the verge of earning a place in the club's hall of fame.

The former Reds defender says the Senegal international stood out most to him during the team's run to Premier League glory last season, before backing him to emulate Anfield legend Barnes if he continues on his current trajectory.

“I said he was the best player last year," Carragher told Sky Sports of Mane. "But to be fair, Kevin De Bruyne got player of the year, and Jordan Henderson got the other one, but certainly for me, I thought Mane was Liverpool’s best player and it would’ve been very close in the run-in.

"Certainly one of the top left-sided attackers in world football, there’s no doubt about that. I love him. I say this all the time.

"I always go back to Mane because he was the first big signing for Jurgen Klopp and that signing got Liverpool into the Champions League in Klopp’s first full season and without that, I don’t think it goes on from there.

"Then, other players come and there’s more revenue at the club. But he was the one who came initially and he’s been the one constant from day one. He’s a superstar.

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"I was thinking of the headed goal there - I remember a goal John Barnes scored, I can picture Barnes heading in a goal for Liverpool. I think it was away at Aston Villa, coming behind himself and heading it in.

"I can picture a white kit. We love John Barnes, we’ve played with Barnes. He was always in Liverpool’s best-ever 11, wide-left. I think when Mane finishes, that is a serious discussion, and I cannot believe I’m saying it because John Barnes for me is like a god.

"But what that man has done since he’s come to Liverpool, he’s going to be really pushing John Barnes.”