Sadio Mané might be the best Liverpool have ever had on their left wing. We have a look at the two players who might rival him.
Sadio Mané left Liverpool for Bayern Munich today after six wonderful years at Anfield. He’s been a world-class player who has contributed to the most success we’ve seen in over 30 years.
Is Sadio Mané the best to ever play on Liverpool’s left wing, though? He’s one of three candidates for the claim – so let’s have a look at them all.
Liverpool’s best ever on the left wing
Mané actually joined Liverpool on the right and played very well there in his opening campaign. The Reds wanted a bigger threat on each wing, however, and signed Mohamed Salah in 2017, moving Mané to the left.
That created the best front-three in Liverpool’s history – Mané, Salah and Roberto Firmino. They’ve contributed enormously ever since as one of the world’s greatest attacking units.
And Mané has certainly played his part. His combined goals and assists in the Premier League since that change have been 17, 23, 25, 18 and 18. That includes one Golden Boot, too, in 2019.
But it’s the Champions League where Mané has truly shone. He scored 10 goals in 11 games in his first season after moving to the lef. There’s been another 14 since. His 15 goals in the knockout stages are the most by any African player and any Liverpool player.
There is absolutely no doubt that Mané is the best left-winger Liverpool have had since Barnes. The debate is whether he’s actually even better – but it’s a tough one to judge.
Barnes was a revelation for Liverpool in the 1980s and at times the best player in a team that included Ian Rush. The winger won the PFA Player of the Year award in 1988 and the FWA Footballer of the Year award in both 1988 and 1990.
Barnes’s dribbling and ability to do just about anything with the ball made him virtually unstoppable for a four-year period to end the 80s. The only thing holding him back is the fact he didn’t get to play in the European Cup as English clubs were banned post-Heysel.
If Barnes had been able to deliver in Europe, perhaps there wouldn’t be a debate here. As it is Mané’s Champions League exploits may be enough to stand him above Barnes.
Liddell retired in 1961 so we won’t claim to have seen much of him. Those who did, however, always maintained that the winger was in the discussion as Liverpool’s best-ever player – not just winger.
There’s a reason the club was nicknamed ‘Liddellpool’ during his spell with the club, after all. Liddell was front and centre of everything at Anfield and did it before Liverpool grew into anything like what it is today.
In fact, Liddell’s career ended with the arrival of Huddersfield Town boss, Bill Shankly. That was the passing of the torch from one era to the next, essentially, as the Reds no longer relied on their legendary star winger.
But Liddel had effectively kept the afloat before then. Who knows where Liverpool would have been without his 228 goals? They were already a Second Division side by the second half of his career and they would have sunk further without the player.
Not that everything Liddell did came in the second division. He scored 96 times in the top flight, including goals that contributed to the title in 1947. While we will stop short of saying that Liddell was the best left winger Liverpool have had – he’s undoubtedly the most important.