Jamie Carragher believes Sadio Mane has been Liverpool’s most important player since Jurgen Klopp became manager.
The Reds legend even said he would choose the Senegalese ahead of Mohamed Salah in terms of importance currently, and thinks he is the best winger at Anfield since John Barnes.
Mane has been outstanding ever since joining Liverpool in 2016, adding much-needed pace and end product from out wide.
His header against Chelsea on Sunday took his goal tally for the season to 21 – the best of his Liverpool career to date.
There is sometimes a feeling that the 27-year-old doesn’t receive the credit he deserves, with few wide forwards in Europe more devastating on their day.
Somebody who treasures his input is Carragher, though, who singled Mane out for huge praise on Sky’s Monday Night Football:
I’m a massive fan of Mane. People talk about Jurgen Klopp, the signings of Salah, van Dijk, unbelievable.
Mane is the one that got Liverpool back. If you think, he was Klopp’s first big signing, paid £30m.
He was the signing that got Liverpool into the top four. The next season it was the Champions League final, this season it’s challenging for the title.
He’s the one who has been there since the very start. If Liverpool or Man City win the league, a lot of it is going to be down to the wide players.
When we (Liverpool) challenged you (Man Utd) in 2009, we didn’t have that wide player.
I’m not just talking about these teams, if you go through history of the teams that win a title, the wide players stand out massively.
I’d go as far as to say, I think if we’d have had Sadio Mane in that team in 2009 we’d have possibly won the league.
If you have a player getting 20 goals from a wide position, it makes a massive difference.
Mane has been such a big player for Liverpool in the title race, standing tall at times when others have flagged.
He is a true winner and his influence is going to be vital between now and the end of the season.
Liverpool's top 5 players this season
It has been an excellent first season at Liverpool for the Brazilian, who has made a meteoric different in goal.
4. Andy Robertson
Robertson has matured into one of the best left-backs in Europe, finding endless assists and providing so much energy.
3. Mohamed Salah
Has Salah been as good as last season? No. Has he still contributed a vast amount? Absolutely.
2. Sadio Mane
Mane had some poor periods earlier in the campaign, but he has been magnificent since the turn of the year, spearheading Liverpool’s title charge.
1. Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk is far and away Liverpool’s Player of the Year, and the leading candidate for the PFA Player of the Year award. A stunning footballer.