They are two of the top young talents in English football, with whom they are said to have become so close that they even kept each other’s meals – and where they were even on holiday with their families at the same time – even though they are both under 25. Yet they are agents, on or off the pitch, and, while they are likely to leave Liverpool for richer pastures in the near future, the contract talks with Salah and Mane have distracted from what is most important about their pursuits: they have already attracted Europe’s finest teams, as well as the interest of the richest clubs in the world.
Before we get carried away with this, it is worth assessing whether Salah or Mane are the more remarkable players. While Salah might be the more accomplished dribbler and scorer, Mane is as dangerous off the ball, able to carry on opposition attacks before going past – or dropping off to take the ball before a defender’s right foot – right through to the penalty spot. Given the size of the scoring rate, it is clear who the better footballer is, but I think both would have a better future if they were in something else.