Liverpool’s free-scoring attacking pair of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah looks destined to be broken this summer – and there may be nothing Jurgen Klopp can do about it.
Mane is expected to bring the curtain down on his Anfield career this summer, with Bayern Munich keen on striking a deal for the former Southampton man, who has just over 12 months remaining on his current Reds deal.
Meanwhile, Salah has confirmed he will not leave Liverpool this summer – but he could walk out of the club for nothing next summer if the Reds hierarchy fail to meet his lavish salary demands.
Losing the duo would be a major setback for Liverpool – just as it was for their bitter rivals, Manchester United, who saw their own potent duo of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo broken up when the latter was lured away by Real Madrid.
Just as Mane and Salah were the driving force behind Liverpool’s current omnipotent team, Rooney and Ronaldo were Manchester United’s key man during a spell of sustained success under Sir Alex Ferguson in the mid-2000s before Ronaldo left the club.
United icon Neville even compared Mane and Salah to United’s deadly duo as recently as 2020. Thankfully for Neville, his bold claim has aged well, as Mane and Salah have been as pivotal as ever for the Reds and Klopp.
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Speaking back in 2020, Neville told Sky Sports: “I look at him (Salah) as an outsider and I’m thinking that he is an absolute killer on the pitch. It reminds me of the twin tracking of Ronaldo and Rooney in the mid-2000s. That’s where Mane and Salah are now.
“I think Salah will end up going above Mane, not because Mane’s not a great player, he is a great player as Rooney was, but the reason players [like Salah or Ronaldo] are different is that they have something up here [in their head] which means that they go home at night and being the best player in the world rocks their world, whereas a Rooney or a Mane, they feel that the team’s got to win, I’ve got to give my all, I’ll fight for my team-mates. Salah doesn’t do that.”
Although Mane has yet to speak officially, he did hint that he had already made his mind up over his long-term future before last weekend’s Champions League final defeat.
Speaking last week, he said: “Honestly, the answer I can give you now is I feel very good, and I am fully focused on Saturday’s game. That is the answer I must give before the final. But come back to me on Saturday and I will give you the best answer you want to hear, for sure. It’s special.