This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Former Liverpool player El-Hadj Diouf believes Sadio Mane and Mo Salah have created an ideal partnership at Anfield.
Since Salah arrived on Merseyside the pair have contributed 123 goals and 45 assists for Jurgen’s Klopp team, guiding them to the Champions League title as well as their highest-ever Premier League points total.
The contribution they have made has seen both recognised in the PFA and UEFA squads of the season over the last two years, and the pair have also finished in the top two of the African Player of the Year award for consecutive seasons.
Diouf, a fellow winner of the award and compatriot of Mane, is very impressed by what he has seen from the duo, and believes they provide the ideal complement to one another.
“You can’t have one without the other. One of them’s left-footed [Salah] and the other’s right-footed [Mane]. Sadio needs Mo like Mo needs Sadio,” Diouf told FIFA’s website.
“They have the same qualities: speed of execution and skill in their final touch. Salah is perhaps a little more effective in front of goal because he puts in less defensive work than Mane.”
The former Senegal international makes an interesting point about the two needing each other, as Liverpool have rarely been in a situation where they have been unable to field both players at the same time.
One memorable occasion in which Salah was missing, however, was in the Champions League semi-final second leg, but the Reds were still able to defeat Barcelona 4-0, due in part to the contribution of Mane.
It is easy to see why Diouf has made a comparison between the two and they do play in a similar fashion for Liverpool, which works very effectively for Jurgen Klopp.
Despite both possessing tremendous pace neither are best suited to taking the ball past defenders, and instead prefer running in behind to get onto the end of through balls. They averaged a combined 3.5 dribbles per match in the Premier League last season – just 0.1 more than Wilfried Zaha managed single handed.
Watch Liverpool Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv Below
Also, due to playing on either wing Salah and Mane don’t often link up directly. With Roberto Firmino acting as the perfect lynchpin in the middle, both players are able to stay in the respective positions to get on the end of chances.
As a result, Diouf’s assessment is perhaps a little misguided. Liverpool don’t rely on their partnership and therefore the pair don’t rely on each other, but it is instead the presence of both which makes the Reds so effective, as the team possesses the same type of threat from both wings.