Jamie Carragher has been singing the praises of Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, describing him as ‘the best wide player Liverpool have had in years, as they look to secure their first Premier League title.
Mane has netted 18 Premier League goals so far this season, just one fewer than top scorers Sergio Aguero and Mohamed Salah in the race for the golden boot, and level with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
While the sheer number and quality of Salah’s goals have often stolen the headlines over the last two seasons, Jamie Carragher has pointed out that it is actually the timing of Sadio Mane’s strikes that is ‘vital’ for Liverpool, regularly scoring the first goal to give the Reds a platform to go on and grab yet another win.
“It’s not just the goals he’s scoring, it’s the importance of the goals,” Carragher said on Sky Sports Monday Night Football.
“The most important goal is that first goal and very rarely do we see teams lose or draw from that position. You go through Liverpool’s last 11 games and Mane gets the first goal in the top four games.
“The opposition does twice but there are only two other Liverpool players in those 11 games who have scored the first goal. That’s how vital they are.
“It’s not just scoring and being top of the charts and getting goals when you’re 4-0 up and banging a couple in at the end of the game, it’s the importance of the goals Mane is getting.
“I think he sometimes goes under the radar. You’ve got Salah, Virgil van Dijk at the back, talk of the goalkeeper and the impact these players have had with Liverpool going for a first title in almost 30 years.
“He’s the best wide player Liverpool have had in years. You have to go back to John Barnes for the last time Liverpool had a player like that and that’s big because I think Barnes is one of the best five or six players to have ever played for Liverpool.”