How do Mane, Firmino and Salah compare to Europe's best front threes?

Liverpool's front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah is one of the best in Europe - but how do others compare?

Sadio Mane's new contract confirmed Liverpool should be able to rely on the Senegal forward, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for many years to come.

All three attackers have agreed new long-term deals in 2018 as Liverpool build towards a trophy under Jurgen Klopp, having lost two major European finals under the German.

Klopp believes his front three can match any front line in world football, with Mane alone having scored 40 goals in 89 appearances since signing from Southampton in 2016.

Here, we assess some of the other lauded front threes from Europe's top five leagues in recent years to see where Mane, Firmino and Salah rank.

 

Mane, Firmino, Salah - Liverpool

Liverpool's front three all scored 10 goals in the Champions League last season but, after Salah was injured by a clash with Sergio Ramos during the final, holders Real Madrid profited with the help of two awful Loris Karius errors.

Mane, Firmino and Salah developed into one of European football's most fearsome strikeforces last term, though, and they have now scored 71 Premier League goals between them from 137 appearances since the start of 2017-18.

Salah leads the way with 38 of those goals, while his 13 assists during the same timeframe also beats Firmino's nine and Mane's seven. In total, they record 0.52 goals per game between them in the Premier League, providing 0.21 assists.

Messi, Suarez, Neymar - Barcelona

Perhaps the best front three European football has seen in the modern era was the Barcelona trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, who had three seasons together between 2014 and 2017.

Their goals per game stands at an incredible 0.84 for LaLiga matches alone, with Messi's 106 goals leading the way from Suarez's 85 and the 59 contributed by Neymar.

What was special about the 'MSN' is the unselfish way they appeared to play for each other, as shown by the fact Messi's 43 assists is the same number as Suarez's, with Neymar's 30 not far behind.

With 250 goals scored in 299 LaLiga appearances it is clear from the Opta numbers that Messi, Suarez and Neymar are the trio to beat.

Neymar, Cavani, Mbappe - PSG

Apparently to move out of Messi's shadow at Camp Nou, Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record transfer last August, immediately forming a new world-class attack with Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.

Their goals per game record is almost identical to the MSN at 0.83, but it should be noted PSG's opposition in Ligue 1 is probably weaker overall than the teams Barca play in Spain's top-flight.

Cavani is now PSG's record goalscorer and since the start of the 2017-18 season he has scored 36 Ligue 1 goals to Neymar's 29 and Mbappe's 24 in the same period. But Neymar has provided 18 assists for his team-mates, with Mbappe on 12 and Cavani just seven.

Neymar to Cavani is the most successful partnership in the trio despite rumours they do not get on, as this has created nine goals in all competitions in the last 15 months of action, while Cavani has returned the favour on only two occasions.

Benzema, Bale, Ronaldo - Real Madrid

Around the same era as the MSN at Barcelona, Real Madrid had the 'BBC' - made up of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, until the latter's departure to Juventus in a shock deal this July.

Between 2013-14 and 2017-18 this trio scored a combined 307 goals in 435 LaLiga appearances for a goals-per-game ratio of 0.71, a significant drop on the 'MSN' and PSG numbers.

Rather predictably it was Ronaldo who was the top goalscorer in that time with an amazing 165 goals in 157 league games, also adding 47 assists, more than either Bale or Benzema mustered in that period.

Ronaldo's numbers were so immense it is no surprise Madrid, Champions League winners in each of the last three seasons, have struggled since his sale, resulting in the sacking of Julen Lopetegui after four months at the helm.

Callejon, Mertens, Insigne - Napoli

Perhaps the best attacking trio in Serie A in recent years has been at Napoli where Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne pushed Juventus incredibly hard for the title last term under Maurizio Sarri's leadership.

But Opta numbers show it took the trio time to click. Since the start of the 2013-14 season they have contributed a total of 182 goals from 558 appearances in the league.

It should be noted, however, that for much of this time they did not operate as a regular front three together, as it was only last season Mertens was selected by Sarri in the middle of a fluid attacking line.

All three players have scored at least 50 Serie A goals since 2013-14, with Mertens out in front on 75, while the 43 assists racked up by Callejon in that time edges out Insigne's 42.