Liverpool’s world class front line of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino has been the envy of Europe—and that was even before star-in-the-making Diogo Jota joined the ranks this season. The Red attack’s combination of guile, pressing, pace, tenacity and of course heaps and heaps of goals, is arguably still unmatched in the three years it has tormented the continent.
The four’s astounding return of 243 goals across 177 games in all competitions together is the result of a dedication on the training ground and a healthy degree of competitiveness amongst each other that has occasionally bubbled over.
Most Liverpool supporters will remember the incident between star forwards Salah and Mané that flared up in a 3-0 win over Burnley in August 2019. Mané grew irate at his strike partner after the Egyptian failed to put his teammate through for a tap-in, instead choosing and failing to take on three defenders in a bid to join the Mané and Firmino on the scoresheet.
Cameras captured a livid Mané remonstrating with Salah before having to be mollified by his teammates on the bench upon being substituted. The team quickly put the scene behind them, with star defender, Andy Robertson recently referencing the episode as an example of a stout, but competitive bond that exists between the attackers.
“The relationship [between the front players] off the pitch is really strong, and on the pitch, the link-up play and everything is always good,” Robertson said speaking to the Liverpool Echo.
“But these players are also paid to be selfish and we need them to score goals and take risks in the final third, and we add [Diogo] Jota into that category now.
“When they are in front of goal, we expect them to shoot and score. There have been certain occasions where people say Bobby could have passed, Sadio could have passed, or Mo could have passed, but these guys are paid money to make split-second decisions and score goals for us.”
This season, it is Jota who has flown out of the blocks with nine goals in his first 15 games for Liverpool. Conversely, bouts of coronavirus have hampered both Mané and Salah from reaching their absurdly high standards, while Firmino has had to respond to the new competition for places as even the likes of a rejuvenated Xherdan Shaqiri push for game time.
However, Robertson believes that it the quality and the healthy working relationships between the attack will continue to push the world class players and the team to new heights.
“Their relationship is really strong just like every other relationship in the squad,” the 26-year-old added “That is why over the last couple of years we have been quite successful.”