After their showdown in the Africa Cup of Nations final in February, which saw Mane come out on top, Egypt and Senegal were again pitted against one other in the two-legged play-off final.
For Liverpool, it’s like choosing your favourite child but in the end, only one can be in Qatar at the end of the year and all is to be decided during the current international break.
And on Friday evening, the two teams met in Cairo for the first leg with the tie in the hands of Salah’s Egypt thanks to a 1-0 win.
It was another cagey affair between the two as it was in the AFCON final, but the decisive moment of the game came inside four minutes.
After winning the ball back high up the pitch, Salah’s run across the penalty box was beautifully picked out before he twisted and let off a left-foot shot.
It ricocheted off the crossbar and directly into Saliou Ciss, who was none the wiser, and the ball was bundled into the back of the net, sparking scenes of celebration for Salah, his on-field teammates and those that rushed over from the bench.
From that point on, clear cut chances proved hard to come by for both sides despite the fast tempo that was present for much of the proceedings.
Mane and Senegal grew into the occasion but struggled to convert their chances and pull back a goal before the return leg on their home soil in just four days’ time.
Both Salah and Mane featured for the duration of the 90 minutes and they will be expected to do the same when the two teams meet for the decisive second leg on Tuesday.