Raheem Sterling set Liverpool hearts fluttering earlier this week when he appeared to open the door to a return to the club. However, he is no better than current Anfield star Sadio Mane.
The Manchester City ace spent five years in total at the Reds, making his professional debut for the club in 2012.
Since then, he has gone on to win two Premier League titles at City, while scoring 89 goals in 230 outings.
However, he refused to rule out a possible return to Anfield earlier this week, saying, per Sky Sports: “Would I ever go back to Liverpool? To be honest with you, I love Liverpool.
“Don’t get it twisted, they are always in my heart, do you know what I mean?
“It’s a team that (has) done a lot for me growing up.”
One has to wonder, though, if Sterling was ever actually better than Mane throughout his time at the club – a man who plays in the same position as the current City winger.
Indeed, the England international never scored more than nine league goals for the Reds in a single season, with those strikes coming in 2013-14. He also provided seven assists that year.
The following season, he scored seven and registered eight assists, and then departed for the Citizens.
Even in his time at the Etihad, it has taken time for it to click for him; he did score 18 league goals in 17/18, with 15 assists, but his time at Liverpool, really, was unremarkable. A £49m fee for him seemed like good business.
It’s even better when one considers that Mane cost £34m and has routinely outperformed how Sterling during his time at Anfield.
He has hit double figures for goals in every season he has played for the Reds, with a minimum of ten goals and seven assists in 17-18 and a maximum of 22 goals and two assists in 18-19.
Even Mane’s best season overall is better than Sterling’s. It’s clear they should hold no regrets over letting the Englishman depart.
Per WhoScored, Mane has made 26 Premier League appearances this season, scoring 14 goals and registering seven assists.
He has averaged 2.3 shots per game, 1.6 key passes, 1.9 dribbles, and he is fouled 1.3 times per game. He also makes 1.4 tackles per game, as he mucks in with the defensive side of the Reds’ game.
Sterling, by comparison, again per WhoScored, has scored 11 goals and registered just one assist in 24 outings for City this season, while he averages 3 shots per game, 1.5 key passes, 1.8 dribbles, and is also fouled on 1.3 occasions. Defensively, he makes 0.8 tackles per game.
There isn’t a lot in it but Mane is the better player, here.
They are both elite wingers.
However, throughout his time at Liverpool, Sterling couldn’t hold a candle to the way Mane has been playing and impressing.
The Senegal international joined the club in 2016, a year after Sterling’s departure, for £15m less than the fee received for his counterpart.
It was a sublime piece of business from the Reds, who should be very happy with what they have.