Liverpool’s players continue their run of getting individual recognition for their incredible perfomances as Mohamed Salah, Naby Keïta, and Sadio Mané all made the 30-player shortlist for the CAF African Player of the Year.
Salah and Mane have both made the top three over the last two years, with Salah beating his Senegalese partner both times.
There is a feeling, however, that this time might be different. Mane has been on a hot streak for club and country this year. He matched Salah’s hefty goal tally in the Premier League to share the Golden Boot with him at the end of last season. He also has eight league goals to his name so far this year.
Perhaps more importantly, Mané helped lead Senegal to the final of the African Cup of Nations this summer, where they fell to Algeria. Egypt’s underwhelming performance in the competition, even with home advantage, might play into the voters minds when the time comes.
Naby Keïta, meanwhile, has found it difficult to pin down a spot in Klopp’s team, due to both fitness and consistency issues. His injuries meant that he was rushed back into international duty to play for Guinea, before being sent back to Melwood for further treatment.
The heavy hitters in this category, aside from Salah and Mané are: Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, who helped guide City to a second consecutive league title, as well as lift the AFCoN trophy with Algeria; and perennial second runner-up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who shared the Golden Boot with Salah and Mané last season, and continues to perform well, despite Arsenal’s lackluster results.
The ceremony will take place on January 7th in Hurghada, Egypt.