Premier League • England

Jamie Carragher puts Salah in Mane shadow at Liverpool, as Senegal star has crucial added extra

Sadio Mane, Lucas Digne Aston Villa v Liverpool May 2022

Jamie Carragher has labelled Sadio Mane as his favourite Liverpool player ahead of Mohamed Salah because of his proven threat across the front line.

Mane has proved a fantastic signing for manager Jurgen Klopp ever since his arrival from Southampton in 2016. Indeed, he formed part of the bedrock for things to come at Anfield.

The Senegal international initially started on the right of Liverpool’s attack. And he capped his Reds Premier League debut with a brilliant goal away at Arsenal.

When Salah arrived from Roma in 2017, Mane subsequently moved over to the left. However, he maintained his consistency and his goal away at Bayern Munich in the 2019 Champions League stands out in that role.

Now, Luis Diaz’s arrival in January has meant Mane has begun to play centrally. He is still a vital influence and kept Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes alive on Tuesday at Aston Villa.

As a result, Carragher has said that he cannot look past the 30-year-old as his favourite Liverpool player.

“For me as a Liverpool fan when I watch Liverpool play, Sadio Mane is my favourite player,” the ex-defender told Sky Sports.

“He’s the one I watch. We know Salah’s numbers, he’s won the Golden Boot, so you can’t say he doesn’t do his job.

“But as you say about Mane, he’s sacrificed himself at times, the shift he puts in. Not just him but Salah as well… five years they’ve been at it now.

“Never injured touch wood for Liverpool, they’re there week in, week out, 90 minutes, getting their numbers up every week, what they’ve done for this club is unbelievable.”

Carragher added that he “won’t let” Mane go to Bayern, amid recent transfer links with the German giants.

The Senegal forward will enter the final year of his Liverpool contract in the summer. However, Reds chiefs feel relaxed about the situation and have pencilled in fresh talks with his agent.

Carragher lauds Mane, Liverpool influence

Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota celebrate

“You’d always find a place in the front three for him,” Carragher added of Mane.

“When Diaz came in and he started so well, he wants to play on the left which is Mane’s position. Salah’s always going to play on the right, then he’s in a fight with [Diogo] Jota, who’s a scoring sensation since he’s come to Liverpool.

“I love him, I absolutely love him to bits. Not just because he’s a great player and for what he’s done for Liverpool, I wouldn’t say he’s sacrificed himself but he initially came in on the right wing, then Salah came in and he moved to the left.

Sadio Mane won’t rule out La Liga move to Real Madrid or Barcelona

Sadio Mane won’t rule out La Liga move to Real Madrid or Barcelona

Sadio Mane could leave Liverpool for Real Madrid or Barcelona as La Liga move is on the cards

“He’s then fantastic on the left, Diaz came in on the left and he moved to centre-forward.

“He’s always moving for someone else, but his performances don’t drop, he’s still producing.”

Star forward in Ballon d’Or contention

Mane helped Liverpool win the Carabao Cup this season and he is playing a vital part as the Reds chase an unprecedented quadruple.

What’s more, he helped Senegal claim their first Africa Cup of Nations triumph earlier this season.

As such, he is in contention for the Ballon d’Or for 2022. Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is another leading contender amid his fantastic goalscoring record.

The Champions League final between Liverpool and Madrid will therefore have a major say in who scoops the big prize.