Rush on Firmino: “He’s always a nine out of 10 and his work-rate is incredible. I’ve never seen him have a bad game.”
Last Updated: 20/04/19 7:32am
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are equally important to Liverpool’s pursuit of Premier League and Champions League glory this season, according to club legend Ian Rush.
Mane has scored 22 times in all competitions this season while Salah has netted on 23 occasions, having returned to form with three goals in three matches following an eight-game barren run.
Cardiff vs Liverpool
April 21, 2019, 3:30pm
Speaking on Monday Night Football, Jamie Carragher suggested Mane is more critical to the Reds’ trophy aspirations in this campaign, describing Mane as Liverpool’s best wide player since Rush’s former team-mate John Barnes.
But former Wales international Rush says it is impossible to choose between the duo, insisting Salah’s return to form could be crucial to Liverpool’s hunt for success on two fronts this season.
“You’d probably say game-to-game Mane has been Liverpool’s forward player of the season but then I think Salah is still the one that could win them the league,” Liverpool’s all-time leading scorer told Sky Sports News at an Ian Rush Foundation event.
“Salah was out of this world last year. I’m not sure if he got the recognition he deserved but he was never going to score as many goals as he did last season.
“I think the goals against Southampton, and in particular Chelsea – where he went off late on to a standing ovation – have been a real pick-up for him, confidence-wise.
“I think he has become a more complete footballer this season because he always seems to have two players marking him now. He’s adapted to that and it has probably given Mane more space which he has benefitted from.
“But it’s impossible to choose one of them. If I had to choose, I’d choose them both!”
Roberto Firmino, the holder of the number nine shirt made famous by Rush, has notched 16 goals this term and the club’s former striker admits he is a fan of the ultra-consistent Brazil international.
“Firmino never has a bad game. He’s always a nine out of 10 and his work-rate is incredible,” added Rush, who last year became the inaugural recipient of the Legends of Sport award.
“People always talk about Mane and Salah but Firmino has also popped up with the goals despite not looking like a typical striker.
“He is a work-horse and he has so much so skill but because he works his socks off I don’t think people realise how skilful he really is. I’ve never seen him have a bad game.”
Rush was speaking on the eve of his first-ever visit to Pakistan to raise awareness of the work of his Foundation, which was formally launched last year.
“I’m very much looking forward to visiting Pakistan,” he added.
“I’m not quite sure what to expect even though I’ve been to India every year for the last five or six years. Hopefully I can put smiles on the faces of a lot of children in the country.”