Ex-Liverpool forward John Barnes has backed Sadio Mane to become one of the club’s all-time greats, but only if he stays at the club for the foreseeable future.

Barnes says that Mane has the potential to be up there with the best Liverpool forwards ever, including himself, if he does not do what Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez did in leaving the club during their prime.

Mane scored twice as Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge at the weekend. He headed home a cross from Roberto Firmino before tapping into an empty net after robbing Kepa of the ball.

Speaking to TalkSport, Barnes heaped praise on the Senegal international. “Mane has been fantastic, of course. What he’s done in the time he’s been here has been absolutely sensational.

“But, as we saw with Fernandes Torres and Luis Suarez, if he leaves this season or at the end of the season after being here for four years, you can’t compare them.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 24: Sadio Mané of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his sides third goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United at Anfield on February 24, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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“If they stay there over a period of time, THEN you can compare him to any great player from the past.”

ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT 

Mane has racked up an impressive 83 goals and 34 assists since his move to the club from Southampton, making 173 first-team appearances in that time. He has proven himself to be a reliable Premier League scorer for the Reds, sharing the Golden Boot in 2019 with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mo Salah.

Along with his goal contributions, Mane has helped Liverpool win a Champions League and a Premier League title – adding substance to his impact on the club’s history.

If he can continue to score and assist goals whilst also helping Liverpool win more major trophies, then there is no reason why he cannot end his career as one of the club’s finest players. As Barnes says, though, this requires Mane to remain at Anfield, rather than leave to join another European club. Should Mane spend the rest of his career on Merseyside, he has a great chance of becoming a club legend based on what Barnes has to say.

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