Sadio Mane still thinks Roberto Firmino is one of the best players in the world after giving a defence of his Liverpool teammate, with whom he hopes to achieve an ambitious target this season.
Mane and Firmino form part of Liverpool’s most recognisable front three alongside Mohamed Salah. But it was only the latter who retained his usual levels of form last season. There have subsequently been rumours that the others could be phased out.
Firmino turned 30 in October and Mane will also reach that age in April. Therefore, Liverpool may be looking towards a future beyond them.
But they both are still keen to prove their worth. Firmino has four goals from eight league appearances this season and Mane has six from 10.
Their improving spells of form have helped Liverpool to second place in the Premier League after 10 games. And Mane is keen to ensure Firmino gets the acknowledgement he deserves.
“I think that is part of football, where people always speak about the players who are scoring the goals but I have always said – and I will say it again – that without Firmino we wouldn’t be the same,” he told the Liverpool matchday programme (as transcribed by the Liverpool Echo).
“In the five years I have been playing with him you can see how many passes and how many assists he has provided and then you can look at his defensive work for us too and his work between the lines to make the space for us to make everything easier. So I think he is unbelievable.
“We know ourselves how good Bobby is and how important he is for us but it’s sometimes only after a hat-trick that more people will talk.
“But certainly within the squad we know that he is one of the best players in the world.”
Mane wants Liverpool to stay unbeaten
Thanks to a collective effort, Liverpool have preserved the only remaining unbeaten record in this season’s Premier League.
Winners of the competition in 2019-20 before relinquishing their crown last term, Mane thinks Liverpool have what it takes to keep it up for the entire season to replicate Arsenal’s Invincibles of the 2003-04 season.
“It is a very, very tough league but that is our target: not to be beaten,” Mane insisted.
“Of course we try to win all our games too which we know won’t be easy but we are going to try for that because it is possible.
“I’m really happy with our start to the season and now we just need to push a little harder to challenge because it won’t be easy this season.
“There are many big teams and there will be many challengers so we will have to be consistent in every game and 100% on our toes.”