In 2010, during what Dirk Kuyt calls “one of the saddest moments” of his career, he faced his Liverpool teammates Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina in the World Cup final in South Africa.
“I remember I was trying to make my run from outside to inside and during the match I saw Pepe Reina running down behind the linesman, yelling at the Spanish defenders that they need to watch me and need to be careful of my runs,” Kuyt recalled.
“That’s what you saw with Salah and Mane: Salah was trying everything to win that cup and you could see it with the penalty Mane had to take that the goalkeeper saved!”
Netherlands lost to Spain, but afterwards, the three men all had to head back to Merseyside to play with each together.
So he understands the situation that Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané find themselves in now as they both return from facing off in the African Cup of Nations final.
“I lost a World Cup final and it’s one of the saddest moments of my career but, after the match, the team-mates from club sides came into the dressing rooms. Once you enter that white line and you’re inside the pitch, it’s like a war, but once the whistle goes and the game is over it’s finished,” he said.
Salah and Mané both started in the 1-0 victory against Burnley on Sunday, despite the sting of Salah’s Egypt losing to Mané’s Senegal on penalties.
Despite that, Kuyt is sure that the two men will remain professionals.
“They are not only top, top football players, they are winners and they want to win as many trophies as they can possibly get,” he said.
“But they know they need each other to make it possible so I’ve no worries there will be any problems between them.”
Lucky for both Salah and Mané, they’ve still got three trophies to work for together this season. Their next challenge will be Wednesday against Inter Milan for the first leg of the round of 16.