Believe it or not, Sadio Mane’s strike for Liverpool against Southampton over the weekend was the first time he and Mo Salah combined for a goal in the Premier League this season.
The duo, along with Bobby Firmino, typically tot up bigger numbers, but Salah is – by far – the Reds’ biggest threat this term with an outstanding 20 league goals so far.
During the half-time break at Anfield, OptaJoe took to Twitter with the mind-blowing statistic that it was the first time Mane and Mo had combined since the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace last June – and it took a great many Liverpool fans by surprise, not excluding us.
1 – Mohamed Salah's assist for Sadio Mané's header was the first time the duo have combined for a goal in the Premier League this season, last doing so vs Crystal Palace in June 2020. Friends. #LIVSOU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 8, 2021
It’s been a difficult season for many of the Reds, not least the defenders, but Mane has notably suffered a drop-off, and that can be somewhat put down to Virgil van Dijk’s absence.
The Netherlands international has a habit of pinging long-range diagonal balls to the winger – with that goal against Bayern Munich in the Champions League being a great example – but that channel was severed when Jordan Pickford clattered the centre-half back in October, leaving the big man needing surgery.
The above statistic does offer another explanation for Liverpool’s faltering form this season, even if it doesn’t exactly sit well.