Who's the Best? Liverpool's Sadio Mane vs Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez

Ahead of the Reds' Premier League clash with Manchester City, Planet Sport casts their eye over two giants of the African game and decides who is the best.

Liverpool and Manchester City go head to head on Sunday in a clash that pits two of Africa's biggest superstars, Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez, against each other.

Both have made impressive starts to the 2021/22 campaign and can already boast four goals to their names as we head into October.

However, who is the best? Christian Evans calls it.

Mane vs Mahrez - backgrounds

Riyad Mahrez Leicester City Feb 14

Both players came from humble beginnings, playing for smaller teams across Europe before getting their chance in the Premier League.

After making his name at Quimper and then Ligue 2's Le Havre, Mahrez was signed by then Championship side Leicester City for just £400,000.

In 2013/14, his first season in England, Mahrez was a bit-part player as Leicester won the Championship. However, he went on to play a pivotal role in the Foxes' Premier League-winning season of 2015/16, scoring 17 goals and providing 10 assists.

The Algerian's strong form over the next two seasons earned him a £60million transfer to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

Sadio Mane Red Bull Leipzig Dec13

Mane started his professional career with Metz, before spending two seasons at Red Bull Salzburg. He arrived in the Premier League with Southampton as a relative unknown.

Mane didn't remain unknown for long. The winger starred for a Southampton side that defied expectations, finishing seventh in 2014/15.

Mane's form for Southampton saw him earn a £34million move to Liverpool, where he played an integral role in the Anfield club's first ever Premier League title season.

Mane vs Mahrez - the stats

Ronald Koeman Sadio Mane Southampton Oct14

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman signed Mane as a 22-year-old unknown and the Senegal international's potential was clear to see as he scored 13 goals in his debut season at St Mary's.

Just over a year later he moved to Anfield, and, under Jurgen Klopp, he has fulfilled his potential as one of Europe's best wingers.

Mane has scored 101 goals, contributed 43 assists and forged a formidable partnership with Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah. Since Salah's arrival the two have scored 221 goals between them.

Although Mahrez failed to make an immediate impact in England, it was under manager Claudio Ranieri, during Leicester's Premier League winning season, that he became a household name.

In 2015/16, Mahrez claimed the Premier League's PFA Players' Player of the Year award and earned a spot in the team of the season after scoring 17 goals.

He continued his strong form for the next two seasons at the King Power Stadium, catching the eye of Guardiola who brought him to the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2018.

After a slow start to his City career, he has gradually improved and has contributed 43 goals and 39 assists.

Mane's goalscoring exploits are undoubtedly superior to his fellow winger, but numbers can be deceiving when comparing both players.

Mane has started the majority of games since he arrived at Liverpool in 2016, largely due to a lack of depth at left wing. Mahrez often falls victim to Guardiola's rotation system and is competing against world-class team-mates including Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Ferran Torres and, formerly Leroy Sane.

As a result, a number of Mahrez's appearances for City have been as a substitute, which impacts his goals per game ratio. The minutes per season and per game ratio favours Mane too.

In just over five seasons at Anfield he has played 18,29 minutes across all competitions, hitting more than 2,500 Premier League minutes on three occasions. In contrast, in three-and-a-bit seasons at the Etihad, Mahrez has totalled just 9,661 minutes and has yet to amass 2,000 minutes in a single season.

Mane vs Mahrez - silverware and accolades

Liverpool Sadio Mane Champions League Jun19

Mahrez and Mane have claimed numerous titles and personal awards throughout their careers.

Both have claimed the coveted African Footballer of the Year once, with Mahrez winning it in 2016 and Mane in 2019, while both have featured in the PFA Premier League's Team of the Season; Mane on three occasions.

Mane was also the joint-winner of the 2018/19 Golden Boot, while Mahrez was the PFA Players' Player of Year in 2016.

Mahrez edges out Mane in terms of titles won. The Algerian has claimed the Premier League and League Cup three times, the FA Cup once and the African Cup of Nations once, in 2019.

Mane has won just four titles - Premier League, the Champions League, the Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup - but unlike Mahrez has experienced success in Europe.

Mahrez holds the upper hand internationally, with Algeria having defeated Mane's Senegal in the 2019 African Cup of Nations final.

Riyad Mahrez Algeria Jul19 African Cup of Nations

Mane vs Mahrez - conclusion

The question as to who is the superior player is best answered by looking at their respective minutes on the pitch. Take Mane out of Klopp's Liverpool line-up and they suffer offensively, hence his superior game-time. Remove Mahrez from Guardiola's City team and they still thrive.


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