By Richard Parks
BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks has raved about Sadio Mane and claimed he has played just as big a role in the team’s success this season as Mohamed Salah.
In his weekly column for the BBC Sport website, the former Tottenham striker named the Senegal international in his team of the week alongside teammates Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Mane had a mixed season up until the sale of Philippe Coutinho in January but has thrived after re-establishing himself as a lynchpin of Jurgen Klopp’s devastating attack.
The wide man, 25, scored the second of Liverpool’s goals in their 2-0 win against Newcastle United on Saturday to lift them to second in the Premier League table.
“The move that gave rise to Mane’s 14th goal of the season was pure craftwork,” said Crooks. “The actual finish by Mane was sheer class.
“The Senegal international has had to play second fiddle to Mohamed Salah for most of the season but that won’t bother the west African. Mane has played as big a part as the Egyptian in Liverpool’s success.”
Football Insider verdict:
With 14 goals and seven assists from 30 matches this season, it is almost laughable to question the contribution of Mane, whose devastating speed on the counter-attack is integral to Liverpool’s thrilling style of play. But the Senegalese lost his mojo for a while either side of Christmas and it has taken the exit of Coutinho for him to win it back. Mane has not had as good a season as Salah – Crooks is way off the mark on that – but he will certainly be every but as crucial over the next two months that will decide whether Liverpool’s season has been a good or great one.