Liverpool forward Sadio Mane steps out of Mohamed Salah’s shadow
Reds teammate Robertson says the Senegalese has taken his game to another level
Sadio Mane has, in the words of Liverpool teammate Andy Robertson, "taken his game to another level", stepping out of Mohamed Salah's shadow to become arguably the main man at Anfield.
The Senegal international shares star billing with Salah and Roberto Firmino as part of the European champions' electrifying and fluid front three.
But this year, Mane is leading Liverpool's charge - his goal in last Saturday's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace was his 12th of the campaign and his 29th for the club in the calendar year.
Mane frightens defences with his pace, direct running and skill, and his goal return has eased the burden on the shoulders of Salah.
Liverpool defender Robertson praised Mane after his goal at Selhurst Park helped Liverpool stay eight points clear of second-placed Leicester City in the English Premier League.
Tomorrow morning (Singapore time), he will train his sights on Napoli in the Champions League, with a win guaranteeing Liverpool top spot in the group, with a game to spare.
"He has been fantastic," said Robertson.
"Even when I came, he was amazing but maybe did not have as much composure as he does now in front of goal.
"Now, every time he's in front of goal you don't think he'll miss. The one he had at the start of the second half (of the Palace game), we were surprised he didn't score and that is the type of player he is.
"You expect him to score and that is a good thing, and he's popped up with another crucial goal."
Robertson added that the others are pitching in as well, but "it's been a fantastic year for him and he's taken his game to another level".
Mane joined Liverpool in 2016, a year before Salah, but the Egyptian quickly became the alpha male at Anfield, scoring 44 goals in all competitions in a remarkable debut season in 2017/18.
Last season, the two players shared the EPL Golden Boot with Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with the three forwards all scoring 22 goals.
And Salah has pipped his teammate to the African Player of the Year award over the past two seasons.
Both have been shortlisted again for this year's prize and Mane, who reached the final of the African Nations Cup with Senegal this year, is seen as an outsider to win the Ballon d' Or. Yesterday, Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp said he has no concerns about the fitness of Salah, who was an unused substitute for the Palace game after missing training with an ankle issue. "Yesterday, we didn't do too much, so we will see today," said Klopp. "But I'm not worried about it." - AFP