Football News

Rio Ferdinand explains why he wouldn’t want to play against Sadio Mane

By Harry Edwards

Published: 19:59, 7 May 2019

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has admitted he would least like to play against Sadio Mane out of Liverpool’s front three.

Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have been in devastating form over the past two seasons, and have played a huge part in Liverpool’s run to back-to-back Champions League semi-finals.

Why would Rio Ferdinand hate to play against Sadio Mane? Five key things to know…

  1. Once again, Liverpool’s front three have been in fine form this season.
  2. Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have been crucial to the Reds’ quest for trophies.
  3. But while Salah receives a lot of plaudits, Rio Ferdinand has admitted he’d least like to face Mane.
  4. The former Manchester United centre-backs believes Mane’s movement makes it hard to defend against him.
  5. Mane has scored 24 goals in 47 games across all competitions this season.

Salah has been the recipient of a lot of the plaudits from the press and fellow players for his goalscoring form since joining from Roma in the summer of 2017, netting 70 goals in 102 games across all competitions.

But out of the three, former United centre-back Ferdinand has revealed he would rather face Salah and Firmino than Mane.

Ferdinand told BT Sport: “If someone said to me, ‘you’re going to have to play against one of these players: Firmino, Salah or Mane, who would be the hardest to play against?’ I’d pick him [Mane] out of the three.

“He poses so many different threats and his movement especially in behind is hard to play against.”

Although Salah’s form from last season has followed on, Mane has often been the man to keep Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes alive with 12 goals in his past 15 games in the competition.

Mane’s exploits have seen him named on the seven-man shortlist for the Premier League’s Player of the Season award alongside Liverpool team-mates Salah and Virgil van Dijk. Also on the list are Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Eden Hazard.

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Fowler: Mane has been better than Salah

Mane was also praised by former Liverpool forward Robbie Fowler, who believes the work he has done this season has eclipsed that of Salah.

“I think he has [been better than Salah],” Fowler told BT Sport.

“I think he was good last year but a lot of the work he did went under the radar because Mo had such a brilliant season.

“I think, for me, he has every type of finish. Sometimes he can be a little bit erratic and sometimes I don’t think he knows what he’s doing himself.

“But he finishes with his head and he finishes with both feet. He’s a clever, clever player.”