Former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique has claimed that Sadio Mane is rivalling Mohamed Salah with his own influence on the team.
Salah has enjoyed blistering form so far this season in what is turning out to be another consistent season. Following 31 goals in 51 games last season, the Egyptian has netted nine in nine this term.
What’s more, his record last campaign made him the standout star amid a drop in form for his attacking colleagues.
Sadio Mane may have scored 16 goals in all competitions last season, but he insisted it marked his worst effort in recent memory.
Still, he has netted five in nine this time around and could have scored many more chances. According to ex-Liverpool left-back Enrique, both players are crucial for manager Jurgen Klopp.
“[Liverpool have] really been depending on [Salah and Mane] a lot, you know,” he told Stats Perform (via Goal).
“That’s the reality in the front three really, with [Roberto] Firmino in there as well. But mainly through Mane and Salah; apart from last season for Mane, they have always been the two that have carried the team in terms of goals.
“Obviously defensively while we have many great players and midfielders and everything. But when it comes to scoring the goals, we have always been depending on Mane and Salah really.”
Salah and Mane combined on Sunday for the latter’s opening goal against Manchester City.
Then, Mane’s run across the box proved crucial, despite Salah doing all the work himself for his strike – which Jamie Carragher described as “world-class”.
Enrique added: “So obviously Salah has always been like this even last season, he was still making numbers.
“But seeing Mane at his best again is amazing to see. I believe these two guys could be a massive difference for us to actually fight for something or not.”
Salah, Mane Liverpool absences
Neither forward has had any long-term injury problems since they signed for Liverpool in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Indeed, their longest absences from the team will come midway through this season, when they participate in the Africa Cup of Nations.
The tournament begins in January next year and ends a month later, meaning Salah and Senegal international Mane will miss a host of matches for the Reds.
Diogo Jota has bolstered the club’s attacking ranks, but it remains to be seen if Klopp has enough in reserve to get his side through that period and maintain their goalscoring form.