'Salah more likely to leave Liverpool this summer than Mane' – McAteer expects Senegal star to stay at Anfield

A former Red believes the Egyptian striker will be “itching to change things up” at some point, but doesn’t think a close team-mate will follow suit

Sadio Mane is “happy to stay at Liverpool” for the foreseeable future, according to Jason McAteer, who feels Mohamed Salah is more likely to seek a move away from the club than the Senegal international.

Mane has hit 15 goals in 29 appearances across all competitions this season, helping the Reds move 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League while also progressing to the latter stages of the Champions League.

The 27-year-old also played a key role in Liverpool’s UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup triumphs, which helped him finish fourth in last year’s final Ballon d’Or vote behind Lionel Messi, club colleague Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Real Madrid are reportedly keen on luring Mane to Santiago Bernabeu in the summer, but he is currently tied to a contract at Anfield through to 2023.

McAteer, who played for the Reds between 1995 and 1999, cannot see Mane swapping Merseyside for the Spanish capital any time soon, but he is not as confident about Salah’s position at Anfield.

The ex-Liverpool midfielder thinks Salah might be interested in a new challenge if Liverpool achieve all of their goals this season, with a number of top clubs out to “entice the best players on daft money”.

“I can absolutely understand why Real Madrid would consider making a move for Sadio Mane in the summer – and I could understand if Mane was tempted,” McAteer wrote in his latest column for the Racing Post.

“Real Madrid aren’t quite the force of old, but they are still a glamour club and would turn heads.

“It’s whether Mane wants a new challenge, while the challenge facing Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp is ensuring the players are hungry to go again just as they were this season after being crowned European champions.

“What I would say is that if Mane went, I’d worry that it might be the start of things breaking apart because he’s absolutely at the top of his game at the minute and would take some replacing. He’d be harder to replace than Mo Salah in my eyes.

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“But we know the really big teams are out there trying to get better and under pressure to entice the best players on daft money.

“I actually think Sadio Mane is quite happy to stay at Liverpool although I can see Mo Salah itching to change things up, if not next summer then next season.”

Sane and Salah will both be back in Premier League action for Liverpool on Sunday, with arch-rivals Manchester United set to arrive at Anfield.

McAteer went on to predict a comfortable afternoon’s work for the Reds, who have won 12 on the bounce since drawing 1-1 at Old Trafford on October 20.

“The game will be different at Anfield,” he added. “Everyone’s talking about wanting to batter United and put them in their place and if the players come out with that mentality and that attitude, start quickly, get a goal, it could be a long afternoon for United.

“I reckon Liverpool will win 3-0 because we are keeping clean sheets for fun.”

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