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Sadio Mane’s form could prompt Liverpool to make Mohamed Salah contract U-turn

By David Alexander Hughes

Sadio Mane’s future remains a hot topic of discussion as the forward continues to steal the headlines for Liverpool. He was the star of the show again on Tuesday night when the Reds came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park, keeping their Premier League hopes alive.

The Senegal international scored the decisive second goal, brilliantly meeting and guiding a deft header past Emi Martinez midway through the second half. His performance on the night led to Jurgen Klopp labelling him a “machine” in his post-match press conference.

“He is a machine, I told him after the game. Massive player, physicality, technique and mentally good in those important moments when everyone has a few yards in the legs. Top goal, and yeah, fantastic player. “

Saturday’s strike took Mane’s total to 22 for the campaign, highlighting that he remains one of the most lethal forwards in the country. He’s also still a firm fan-favourite among Liverpool fans.

Taking all of this into account, it seems bizarre that he could still depart from Anfield in the next year, with his current contract set to expire in 12 months. At present, no extension has been offered, suggesting the club is open to letting him leave for free.

The situation is different in the case of attacking teammate Mohamed Salah. His deal is also set to expire next year, though the club have already offered him a new lucrative extension. Salah and his representatives haven’t yet agreed to it, and negotiations look to have hit an impasse, but Liverpool’s attempts to extend his stay and not Mane’s are telling.

But there is now a growing case to be made that it’s perhaps the former Southampton forward’s future that should be prioritised over Salah’s.

Salah has outscored Mane this season, finding the back of the net 30 times across all competitions. However, 23 of those efforts came prior to his involvement in January's Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Since then he’s scored only seven goals, three of which were penalties.

Mane though has scored 12 goals in that time, all from open play. And his all-round performances have been at a much higher level than Salah too, leading to Carragher claiming there’s just “something about” the 30-year-old.

Following Liverpool’s victory, the Sky Sports pundit said: “As a Liverpool fan when I watch the team play, he (Mane) is the one I watch. Even though Salah has the numbers and wins the Golden Boot, there is something about Mane.”

He continued by stating: “I love Sadio Mane and I can assure you that he is going nowhere because I will not let him go to Bayern Munich. He will have me to deal with.”

It’s possible that Liverpool officials determined it poor business to extend the contracts of both Mane and Salah given they’re both approaching the twilight years of their careers. They therefore may have initially agreed that the latter had the better prospects of maintaining his top-level form. Yet Mane’s performances in more recent months could soon prompt a U-turn in that decision.

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