Salah, Mane, Firmino: Pep Guardiola was scared to face Liverpool’s top three in 2017/18
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are one of the greatest front three the Premier League has ever seen.
While Firmino may have failed and been usurped by Diogo Jota in recent seasons, the Brazilian was part of an unstoppable Liverpool triumvirate during his peak years at Anfield.
It’s hard to imagine a world in which the Reds would have reached back-to-back Champions League finals and lifted the Premier League title if their star trio hadn’t been on top.
The brilliance of Mane, Salah and Firmino
With Firmino’s ping passes as a playmaker-striker hybrid to the prolific Mane and Salah, you can rest assured that Liverpool will always give you your money’s worth on the commercial side of the pitch.
In fact, the Firmino-Mane-Salah dynamic was so powerful at its best that even Pep Guardiola, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest tactical minds in history, was afraid to play against them.
Although it might seem a bit extreme at first glance, we can safely make this statement given that the Manchester City boss said so himself in Manchester City’s ‘All or Nothing’ documentary.
Guardiola against Liverpool’s front three
The program followed the Citizens’ near-perfect 2017/18 season, but even a year that netted a record 100 points still saw plenty of heartbreak at the hands of Liverpool’s front three.
And the moment Guardiola expressed his fear of facing said trio came in footage of the City boss preparing to face the Merseyside club in the Champions League quarter-finals.
After losing his Premier League unbeaten record to Liverpool in a 4-3 loss with Mane, Salah and Firmino all scoring, Guardiola was wary of avoiding a repeat in Europe.
Guardiola is afraid to face Mane, Salah and Firmino
The result? A fascinating conversation with assistants Carles Planchart and Domenec Torrent which you can read in full below.
Guardiola: “Liverpool strikers are good.”
Guardiola: “Those three in front.”
Planchart: “Yes Pep, but only there are only them.”
Guardiola: “They scare me. They are dangerous, I think so. I have a feeling that Salah is going to play [as a] striker. Salah will play as number nine and Firmino will move to the wing. He comes here and Salah advances. Our wingers cannot cover their wingers.
Planchart: “I notice that when they don’t have space they suffer a lot, like today against Crystal Palace. But we are a team that risks a lot.
Torrent: “I watched our game yesterday when we went there [to Anfield] and lost. They played on another level. If you want to beat them, you have to work to do it. If we are at our best, we are better than Liverpool. »
You know you’re doing something right when one of the greatest managers of all time is scared, and you can see it in Guardiola’s eyes when you watch the full footage here:
Just look at the effect Mane, Salah and Firmino have had on people in their prime.
Mane, Salah and Firmino once again thrived
Besides, Guardiola was right to worry as even the lessons learned from the league defeat proved futile as Liverpool gutted City of Europe with an emphatic 5-1 aggregate win.
The Citizens finally had the last laugh in winning the Premier League title and Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in Kyiv, but they were still burned by the Reds’ front three in a season where almost nothing went wrong pass.
In other words, City might have had the better team overall, but one only has to look at Guardiola’s thoughts to see that Liverpool were simply second to none when it came to their front three.
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