While Mohamed Salah was slightly more diplomatic when he confirmed he would be staying at Liverpool at least for next season, Sadio Mane was non-committal.
Though formally scheduled as Liverpool’s pre-Champions League final media day, with the focus on Real Madrid in Paris, Wednesday saw a number of questions on the futures of Salah and Mane.
Chairman Tom Werner reiterated the club’s “desire” to tie both down to new long-term contracts, praising Julian Ward ahead of a busy summer for the new sporting director.
And in his press conference alongside Jordan Henderson later in the day, Salah confirmed that he would be “staying next season for sure.”
The No. 11 stressed his desire to focus on the final for now, saying “it’s about the team” and that he “doesn’t want to be selfish at all” in keeping the spotlight on him.
Speaking to Sky Sports in a separate interview, Mane was asked a similar question, but, true to character, was more coy in his response.
? “I’m going to answer after the Champions League.”
Sadio Mané responds to being asked about his future at Liverpool. ? pic.twitter.com/YWx3WA4pfq
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 25, 2022
“It would be special to win and make it seven,” he said when asked if it would be nice to bring in another European Cup and get his future sorted.
“This question [on my future], I will answer after the Champions League.
“If I’m staying or not, I’m going to answer after the Champions League.”
This is, to an extent, no surprise given it has been widely reported that talks are planned with the agents of both Salah and Mane upon the season’s conclusion.
But with the backdrop of Bayern Munich’s interest in Mane, his refusal to commit beyond the end of the current campaign could be more worrying.
Mane has been in exceptional form in this second half of the season, and throughout 2021/22 he has scored 23 goals and laid on five assists in 50 appearances, as well as six goals and two assists in 14 games for Senegal.
That the Champions League final will be his 65th game of the campaign is a testament to Mane’s durability having turned 30 in April, with it clear the No. 10 is built to last.
Having transitioned successfully into a new role as centre-forward, too, it is easy to see him thriving at Anfield for years to come.
Whether Mane feels that way, however, could be another story.