Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane have developed one of the best partnerships in the world. It’s a little-discussed duo in Liverpool’s world-class team.
It took three minutes on Saturday for Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane to tear Everton apart. The £10m Scot managed to find space down the left-flank – primarily thanks to James Rodriguez failing to deal with him – and crossed for Mane to fire home.
It’s a combination that nearly led to two more goals in the Merseyside derby as they ran riot. And that’s a nice reminder that Liverpool’s left side is one of the best partnerships in world football.
Robertson and £34m Mane manage to combine to offer everything you could want from a winger going forward. Teams usually have to choose, of course – do you want someone to cut inside and run in behind? Or do you want someone to stretch play and hit the byline for a cross?
Liverpool have both and that’s almost impossible to defend. Mane is one of the best wingers in the world, getting into the box and using pace to attack space. Robertson perhaps is the best left-back in the world and is one of the most creative the Premier League has ever seen.
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In fact, when it comes to assists, Robertson is the best left-back in the league’s history.
Then you get games like Saturday where the two of them use their two styles to combine. That’s unstoppable. Who even covers the two players? If the right-back follows Mane, it leaves space for Robertson to attack. If he stays put, Mane is free in the box.
But this all only works so well because defensively, each is incredibly hard-working. Robertson knows he can venture down that flank because Mane leads the press so well – the Scot can lose the ball knowing Mane will help him win it back.
The Senegalese winger will even drop back and cover the space behind Robertson. Not every winger will do that.
But the high energy, high work-rate nature of each allows them to take such risks. It’s a fantastic pairing and one that has to be up there as the best in the world.
You don’t quite get the same down the other side. Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold also have a wonderful partnership but you don’t really associate the two together.
The right-back is more likely to sit a little deeper and leave space for Salah than get beyond him. The Egyptian isn’t quite as quick to cover Alexander-Arnold, either. Nor do they link up with the ball as often.
But Mane and Robertson are a proper partnership, one that seamlessly flows in games. It’s all very natural and a huge, if perhaps a little underappreciated, part of Liverpool’s success.