Sadio Mane has matched Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League record after his latest performance for Liverpool. The Reds are heavy favourites to go through to the next round after beating Benfica 3-1 in Portugal.
Liverpool star Mane had a huge say in their 3-1 win over Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday night at the Estadio de Lux. Jurgen Klopp can rest a little easier ahead of the second leg at Anfield next week.
The Senegal international came up trumps when his club needed him to score a pivotal goal to give the Reds the upper-hand. His first-half strike doubled Liverpool’s lead in Portugal after Ibrahima Konate had opened the scores.
The former RB Leipzig star was at fault as Darwin Nunez got one back early in the second-half. But Luis Diaz’s late goal means that the visitors take home a two-goal cushion that gives them a major boost of reaching the semi-finals.
But Mane’s goal also meant that he has matched Manchester United star Ronaldo’s Champions League record. The 29-year-old’s strike has him tied with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for the most Champions League knockout stage goals since 2017 (13).
There is no doubting the Liverpool star’s prowess in Europe, where he has been electric for Klopp – including in that 2017/18 season where he scored 10. That year the Reds lost to Real Madrid in the final only to go a step further the following season and win it.
However, some doubts have creeped into his game at Premier League level despite scoring 12 this season. A healthy total – especially considering four of them have come in the last six matches – but a barren run of one in eight left some concerns.
But Mane’s return to form has coincided with a slight decline in Mohamed Salah’s, whose contract talks have dominated the news over the past few weeks. That is despite the fact that the Senegalese star is in the same boat.
Both players will see their contracts expire at the end of next season, as well as Roberto Firmino, and it could signal the end of the tremendous trio of attackers that Klopp made into world-class superstars.
The German coach, though, might already have his replacement in Diaz, who has looked dynamite since signing from Porto in January. With Diogo Jota scoring the goals and Harvey Elliott to potentially develop into a top player, the future remains bright for Liverpool.