Can Kop King Salah keep his crown away from Mane?

Can Kop King Salah keep his crown away from Mane?

Mohamed Salah has, from the moment he walked through the doors at Anfield, been nothing short of a revelation across five seasons at Liverpool Football Club. In that time, the mercurial Egyptian forward has registered over 100 Premier League goals and more than 150 efforts for the Reds in all competitions.

He has Golden Boots and PFA Player of the Year prizes to his name and is widely considered to have cemented a standing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe at the very top of a global game.

With that in mind, and with another productive 2021-22 campaign enjoyed on Merseyside, it comes as little surprise to find that Salah has become the 10/1 second favourite in Ballon d’Or 2022 odds, with a prestigious Golden Ball one of few major honours that have so far eluded him.

He does face a serious fight to get his hands on that prize this time around, with a familiar face from a dressing room he tends to dominate on Merseyside ready to join Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema in a thrilling fight to the finish.

Sadio Mane is the man looking to prove that there is room for more than one attacking talisman in Jurgen Klopp’s squad, with the Senegalese forward enjoying the kind of year that dreams are made of. There is the promise of much more to come as Liverpool continue to chase down more silverware and a World Cup finals in Qatar looms large on the horizon.

Seeing Reds

A man who has passed the 20-goal mark at club level for the fourth time in the space of five seasons opened the latest calendar year by getting the better of club colleague Salah at the Africa Cup of Nations. He repeated that feat a few weeks later when converting a second match-winning penalty against Egypt in a World Cup play-off.

League Cup success, in another shootout from 12 yards, was to follow when returning to England, with a clean sweep of trophies on the cards at that stage. Having become a key component in a dominant Liverpool side – one readying themselves for another Champions League final – plaudits were always going to rain down.

For the most part, Mane has had to share the spotlight at Anfield with Salah – with the pair not always seeing eye to eye. He has never operated in the shadow of a fellow frontman, but becoming a leading man in his own right has proved tricky.

That is no longer the case, with the potential there to place a Golden Ball alongside the gold medals and Premier League Golden Boot that already occupies his personal mantelpiece. If current standards can be maintained for a few more months, then he will be very much in that mix.

Salah will, of course, have something to say about that – as questions continue to be asked of his future at Liverpool – and the King of the Kop may have to get accustomed to sharing his throne with a Crown Prince who has come of age.