The World Cup has unfortunate consequences for top sides. Players who went far in the competition were late getting in their three-week holidays and Liverpool are still without a few first-team regulars on their pre-season tour. Roberto Firmino, Dejan Lovren, Simon Mignolet, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have yet to return to training and, regardless of their standing in the depth chart, will all probably miss out on a spot in the opening day XI.
Thankfully, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané have already linked up with the Reds in the U.S. and didn’t look like they had missed a single step against Manchester City.
“It shows how much they give to the side, with and without the ball and the chances they create,” said James Milner.
”They probably could have had three [goals] each.
”That’s pleasing signs for their first action and they’re obviously sharp and don’t need too many practice matches by the looks of it.”
Salah and Mané both came on in the second half against City in Wednesday’s friendly. They looked lively, creating chances, and just generally being very dangerous in their attacking positions.
Of course, it’s too early to be excited by Liverpool’s success this season but that’s never stopped me before. When you look at Jürgen Klopp’s new signings, sprinkled into an already potent mix of talent, it’s difficult to contain the gleeful anticipation for the coming season.
Add to that the spectacle of Salah and Mané starting so quickly off their blocks during pre-season and it becomes even tougher to contain my excitement face.
Salah, in particular, is under the microscope as the world waits to see if the Egyptian can be consistently amazing over multiple seasons, to truly be considered a peer to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Does his introductory performance against City show his commitment and desire to be even better this season? Yes, of course it does. So, that’s settled.
Now, Firmino’s return to the squad can’t come soon enough. Together with Salah and Mané, being fed by Naby Keita, expect a new level of dynamism going forward.