Mane's looking to steal Salah's thunder as Liverpool stars go head-to-head in dream AFCON final  

0
47


Senegal’s Sadio Mane is looking to steal Egypt icon Mo Salah’s thunder as Liverpool stars go head-to-head in dream Africa Cup of Nations final

  • Sadio Mane has consistently been eclipsed by his Liverpool team-mate Mo Salah
  • Senegal captain Mane and Egypt skipper Salah have risen to the occasion
  • The clash between Senegal and Egypt is the dream Africa Cup of Nations final


In a final featuring two Liverpool legends, Sadio Mane is about to find out if Mo Salah’s shadow stretches 5,000 miles all the way from Anfield to Yaounde.

Sunday’s clash between Senegal and Egypt is the dream Africa Cup of Nations final many wanted because of the main protagonists.

‘When two of the top players in the world are against each other for the biggest title in Africa it is exciting,’ said Patrice Motsepe, the Confederation of African Football president.

Sadio Mane (L) has consistently been eclipsed by his Liverpool team-mate Mo Salah (R)

Sadio Mane (L) has consistently been eclipsed by his Liverpool team-mate Mo Salah (R)

Motsepe may also be happy there is a talking point away from the controversial venue. Eight fans were crushed to death at the Olembe Stadium at a Cameroon game earlier in the tournament.

Although Senegal have never won the AFCON and Mane said before the tournament that he would swap the Champions League and Premier League prizes for glory with his country, there is surely a personal element for the 29-year-old, too.

Throughout all his success with Liverpool — he’s scored 107 goals in five and a half seasons and is the embodiment of Jurgen Klopp’s heavy metal press — he has consistently been eclipsed by his brilliant team-mate Salah.

Liverpool manager Klopp has praised Mane but never called him the world’s best player as he has done with Salah.

The 29-year-old forward is only one goal behind Henri Camara’s national record

The 29-year-old forward is only one goal behind Henri Camara’s national record

When Mane won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2019, he had to share it with the equally prolific Egyptian, who is on course to win his third top-scorer crown this season. For a while, the rivalry threatened to spill over. There didn’t seem to be much link-up play between them and Mane gestured his unhappiness at Salah not passing to him against Burnley in 2019.

It is a credit to Klopp’s man-management skills that he didn’t let the situation escalate.

‘These two boys are real warriors, they are constantly ready,’ Klopp said yesterday. ‘When they won the Golden Boot together, it was a really nice moment.

‘Now they are with their countries, they are taking on the role as the most important players. They are wearing their leadership hats and have been impressive.’

Egyptian star Salah has delivered big moments — despite not consistently being at his best

Egyptian star Salah has delivered big moments — despite not consistently being at his best

Salah and Mane have reputations for being quiet but have risen to the occasion of wearing captain’s armbands and inspiring their teams.

Mane has scored three times — against Zimbabwe, Cape Verde and in the semi-final against Burkina Faso and is only one goal behind Henri Camara’s national record.

Though Liverpool were perturbed by him facing Equatorial Guinea only four days after being knocked unconscious against Cape Verde, in Senegal it was viewed as an example of how much Mane wanted to serve his country.

Yet Mane will still fear Salah stealing his thunder. The Egyptian star has also delivered big moments at the AFCON — despite not consistently being at his best.

For Klopp, who will be watching on Merseyside, the hope will be there is no hangover when the duo return to the Premier League.

Advertisement

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here