WATFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 12, 2017: Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sadio Mane joins Philippe Coutinho on 2017 Ballon d’Or shortlist

Liverpool winger Sadio Mane has joined Philippe Coutinho on the shortlist for the 2017 Ballon d’Or, as the second Reds representative in 20 players.

Mane made an immediate mark on Merseyside following his £30 million move from Southampton last summer, establishing himself as one of Jurgen Klopp‘s most important players.

The Senegal international scored 13 goals and laid on a further right in just 29 appearances for the Reds in 2015/16, with his absence at the end of the season hampering his side’s fluency.

After recovering from a knee injury picked up in the Merseyside derby in April, Mane has picked up where he left off this term.

So far the 25-year-old has struck three times and assisted a further two goals in nine outings.

His form since making the switch to Anfield has earned him a place on France Football‘s 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or.

The award has been passed between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi over the past 10 years and will, in all likelihood, once again be handed to one of world football’s two finest talents.

But that both Coutinho and Mane have been recognised for their form with Liverpool is a major positive.

Klopp’s side were clear contenders for the Premier League title for the majority of last season, but an inability to function without their two key forwards undermined their bid.

The German has worked to address this in 2017/18 with the addition of Mohamed Salah, but the importance of Coutinho and Mane is still clear.

Mane’s rise to the fore since joining Liverpool has been remarkable, and still just 25, the hope is he continues to improve as the years go by with the Reds.

Ballon d’Or Nominees, 2017: Neymar Jr. (PSG), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Marcelo (Real Madrid), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Kevin de Bruyne (Man City), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), David de Gea (Man United), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Edin Dzeko (AS Roma), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Edinson Cavani (PSG), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan), Isco (Real Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

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