Liverpool’s Senegalese attacker Sadio Mane once again outshone Mohamed Salah in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Tottenham, but he will be thankful that his missed chances didn’t come back to haunt him.
Mane has had a blistering start to the season for Liverpool, scoring four goals in the Reds first five matches, after being largely in the shadow of his Egyptian teammate last season.
Salah was breaking records for fun during the last campaign and ended the season with an incredible 44 goals from 52 games in all competitions, wrapping up the Premier League’s Golden Boot ahead of Harry Kane in the process.
At Wembley on Saturday though it was Mane who stood out. Playing off the left of Liverpool’s famous front three, the 26-year-old had a goal chalked out for offside just a minute into the match as the Merseysiders started the brightest.
After Salah had missed a gilt-edged chance though, Liverpool’s first goal came from a set-piece, as Gini Wijnaldum headed in for his first ever Premier League goal away from home.
It was then striker Roberto Firmino who doubled the Reds’ lead with just over 10 minutes gone of the second half. The goal came from left-back Andy Robertson playing a ball in behind Kieran Trippier on the Spurs right that Mane latched on to.
As he ran into the box the Tottenham defenders looked scared to go near him and his square to Firmino eventually found its way to the Brazilian for via Jan Vertonghen and the post.
Salah’s earlier miss wouldn’t be the last of the game though as with a 2-0 lead he and Mane went on to squander a number of opportunities that Jurgen Klopp was visibly furious with. Mane had a number of shots when others were perhaps better placed and when he had a chance to run at the Tottenham defence with a three on two, he picked the wrong option in Naby Keita over Salah.
Mane ended the game having had five shots, three of which were on target but all failed to beat Michel Vorm in the Spurs net. The two key passes and six fouls won prove just how dangerous he was yet again but after Erik Lamela netted in the 93rd minute it could have been a very different story were Tottenham to score again.
There may come a time during the season that Mane is punished for missing chances and made to rue earlier errors but luckily for the Reds this was their day, especially as on another Michael Oliver could have given a penalty against the 56-cap international for the contact he made on Heung-min Son late on.
The win takes Liverpool onto 15 points after taking the maximum available from the first five fixtures, but no matter how dangerous they currently look, Salah and Mane will need to find the ruthless form of last season if they are to challenge Manchester City for the title.