Pep Guardiola has praised the on-pitch relationship between Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for Liverpool.
Speaking to BBC Sport after Liverpool held Manchester City to a 2-2 draw, the City boss spoke glowingly about The Reds’ attacking duo.
“They have an incredible threat up-front,” said Guardiola. “You know the connection (between) Salah and Mane, the number of balls, attacking inside, how many times they do it and they do it perfectly.”
Creating the decisive moment
It was a difficult first-half for Liverpool at the Etihad yesterday. The Reds looked to be caught out by City’s fast start and early intensity. This meant that both Salah and Mane were rendered relatively ineffective.
But the two forwards, who now have 266 Liverpool goals between them, linked up to devastating effect early in the second-half.
Salah weighted an inch-perfect through-ball for Mane to lash past Ederson. It was a prime example of the kind of connection that Pep is referring to and brought Liverpool back into the game.
It was perhaps the best moment in a game packed full of quality. How many times have The Reds’ number’s 10 and 11 provided that? Too many to count.
Salah showing improvement
Beyond the goal, the duo weren’t able to carve out many opportunities for Liverpool to sneak ahead. But that didn’t mean that they weren’t doing their jobs.
Mane worked tirelessly first from the left and then through the centre. Once he moved centrally, his hold-up play was a big improvement from the sloppy Diogo Jota’s.
On the right-hand side, Salah was more lively than we have seen in recent games. The Egyptian has looked in desperate need of a rest since returning from the AFCON tournament in February.
But here he showed some of the flashes of brilliance that we saw so often in the first-half of the season. The assist for Mane seemed to give him the confidence boost he has been searching for.
As the second-half went on, Salah looked the most likely source of a winner for The Reds.
Hopefully the improved display can give the 29-year-old the little injection of belief he needs to drive Liverpool on for the remaining games.
It’s a sad truth that we may be in the last throes of Mane and Salah’s illustrious partnership for Liverpool. With both players’ contracts coming to an end in 2023, it appears unlikely that they’ll both extend their stays beyond next year.
That will bring to an end one of the best attacking partnerships of the 21st century for Liverpool. Let’s enjoy it while we still can.