Former Leeds United and Middlesbrough forward, Noel Whelan, believes Sadio Mane has been in top form than Mohamed Salah in the last three seasons and he deserves a new Liverpool deal.
With his contribution of 16 goals and seven assists after 37 appearances across all competitions for the Reds this season, Mane has been subject of transfer interest away from Anfield despite having three years left on his current contract.
The Senegal international has established himself as a key player in Jurgen Klopp’s team since his arrival from Southampton in 2016, helping Liverpool win the Champions League title, the Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup last year.
Aware of Liverpool’s financial capability, Whelan said ‘massively important’ Mane needs to be rewarded with an improved contract to fend off interest because he is a crucial player.
“It is massively important they get him tied down to a new deal,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“Show the player what he is worth and reward him for the performances he has put in. He has been exceptional. Over the past three seasons, he has been absolutely crucial and better than Salah.
“Liverpool are showing their credentials by keeping hold of players because usually when Real Madrid or Barcelona come calling – players jump off.
“Liverpool are showing their strength. They have the money to match Real Madrid and they are serious about retaining the title and going further in the Champions League. To do that you need to keep these players.
“I am sure Liverpool are telling Sadio Mane they will be investing this summer to make them even stronger.”
Prior to the suspension of the Premier League due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2019 African Footballer of the Year was the leading top scorer for the Reds with 14 league goals in 26 outings, two efforts behind Salah.
Liverpool sit at the summit of the league table with 82 points, with a 25-point gap above second-placed Manchester City.