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DOUBLE ACT

Mohamed Salah’s shadow spreads far and wide but Sadio Mane’s quality shouldn’t be overlooked

It’s almost impossible to discuss anyone other than Mohamed Salah (£7.3m) when it comes to Dream Team right now.

The prolific Egyptian was already by far and away the top points scorer before Game Week 8 started and profitable outings against Watford and Atletico Madrid have only cemented his status as 2021/22’s MVP.

Salah has added 28 points to his tally since Saturday lunchtime to take his overall total to 117 – only one other player in all of Dream Team, Harry Kane (£7.6m), has reached the 70-point mark at this stage.

Such dominance casts a sizeable shadow but it would be remiss of Dream Team gaffers to ignore Liverpool’s other free-scoring wide forward, Sadio Mane (£5.6m).

Mane and Salah have so often inspired Liverpool to victory under Jurgen Klopp

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Mane and Salah have so often inspired Liverpool to victory under Jurgen Klopp

The Senegal international’s total of 48 points may look underwhelming compared to Salah’s huge outlier but it’s actually very impressive in the wider context.

Only six forwards boast a superior tally at the time of writing and he’s only eight points off third-placed Michail Antonio (£4.6m).

Mane was noticeably below par for long spells last season but, much like Liverpool as a whole, he’s returned from the summer break with renewed hunger and vigour- only Salah and Antonio have registered more shots in the league.

The 29-year-old has scored six goals in all competitions so far, his most recent coming against the Hornets last weekend for his 100th Premier League goal.

Salah celebrated his own century just like month.

It’s worth nothing that only 31 players have scored 100 league goals since the reinvention of the English top flight in 1992 – the fact two of them have operated in tandem for same club while both in their prime is a rare phenomenon.

Salah is deservedly grabbing headlines but Mane is also ticking over nicely

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Salah is deservedly grabbing headlines but Mane is also ticking over nicely

Naturally, many will remember Mane and Salah as a pair, or as two thirds of what will surely be remembered as a legendary front three also including Roberto Firmino (£3.8m).

But it’s important each individual is recognised in their own right.

Mane scored 18 league goals during Liverpool’s historic first title win of the Premier League era, he scored ten goals in the 2017/18 Champions League campaign including one in the final, and was a key contributor the following season when the Reds went one better and lifted the trophy for the sixth time in their history.

His strike rate of 103 goals in 229 games in all competitions for the club is highly commendable and he has never failed to reach double figures for league goals in a single season since moving to the Premier League from Red Bull Salzburg in 2014.

Mane even has a Golden Boot to show for his efforts in the world’s most-popular domestic league.

Salah and Mane shared the Golden Boot in 2018/19 with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

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Salah and Mane shared the Golden Boot in 2018/19 with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Many Dream Team managers will be thinking of doubling down on Liverpool’s premium forwards and there’s seemingly no reason to shy away from such an approach.

Mane’s ownership of 12.3% makes him the eighth-most popular asset in his position but he’s likely to be a popular recruit in the coming weeks, especially if the points continue to dry up for Cristiano Ronaldo (£7.6m) and Romelu Lukaku (£6.0m).

Some Dream Team gaffers may even be thinking of backing Salah, Mane AND Firmino after the latter’s hat-trick at Vicarage Road – that would surely be overkill… or would it?