Sadio Mane was Liverpool’s hero as Jurgen Klopp’s side beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The Senegalese star had a pretty quiet opening 45 minutes. That was until his blistering pace saw him latch onto a Jordan Henderson pass resulting in Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen bringing him down. After a VAR review, Christensen was shown a red card.
It was a decisive moment in the match.
Within nine second half minutes, Mane had scored twice.
His first was a terrific header from Roberto Firmino’s cross following a lovely team move.
His second was down to sheer hard work.
Mane had given the ball away and was clearly angry with himself. He chased down Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who gifted him the ball to tap into an empty net.
It was Mane’s 65th Premier League goal in 129 appearances for Liverpool since he arrived from Southampton for £34 million in 2016. And it takes his overall Premier League tally to 86 in 196 appearances.
What is the significance of that record?
Well because a certain Cristiano Ronaldo made 196 Premier League appearances during his time at Manchester United.
So with Mane and Ronaldo playing the exact same number of league games until now, what better time to compare their Premier League records.
Let’s take a look:
Sadio Mane: 196
Cristiano Ronaldo: 196
Sadio Mane: 86
Cristiano Ronaldo: 84
Sadio Mane: 29
Cristiano Ronaldo: 36
Sadio Mane: 176
Cristiano Ronaldo: 157
Sadio Mane: 20
Cristiano Ronaldo: 39
Sadio Mane: 0
Cristiano Ronaldo: 9
Sadio Mane: 0
Cristiano Ronaldo: 11
Minutes per goal
Sadio Mane: 176.9
Cristiano Ronaldo: 173.1
Minutes per non-penalty goal
Sadio Mane: 176.9
Cristiano Ronaldo: 199.1
Minutes per goal or assist
Sadio Mane: 132.3
Cristiano Ronaldo: 121.1
So, Mane has scored more goals and has a better minutes per non-penalty goal than Ronaldo.
When you think that Ronaldo is considered one of the greatest Premier League players ever, surely Mane now needs to be put in the same bracket.
One man that refuses to hide his love for Mane is Jamie Carragher.
The former Liverpool defender suggested Mane is of the best players in his position on world football and even compared him to Liverpool great John Barnes.
“I said he was the best player last year," Carragher told Sky Sports of Mane. "But to be fair, Kevin De Bruyne got player of the year, and Jordan Henderson got the other one, but certainly for me, I thought Mane was Liverpool’s best player and it would’ve been very close in the run-in.
"Certainly one of the top left-sided attackers in world football, there’s no doubt about that. I love him. I say this all the time.
"I always go back to Mane because he was the first big signing for Jurgen Klopp and that signing got Liverpool into the Champions League in Klopp’s first full season and without that, I don’t think it goes on from there.
"Then, other players come and there’s more revenue at the club. But he was the one who came initially and he’s been the one constant from day one. He’s a superstar.
"I was thinking of the headed goal there - I remember a goal John Barnes scored, I can picture Barnes heading in a goal for Liverpool. I think it was away at Aston Villa, coming behind himself and heading it in.
"I can picture a white kit. We love John Barnes, we’ve played with Barnes. He was always in Liverpool’s best-ever 11, wide-left. I think when Mane finishes, that is a serious discussion, and I cannot believe I’m saying it because John Barnes for me is like a god.
"But what that man has done since he’s come to Liverpool, he’s going to be really pushing John Barnes.”
- What does my club need to do before deadline day?
- Footage of Klopp berating his bench after Christensen's red card emerges
- Fabinho's individual highlights at centre-back are very impressive