Barcelona great Xavi has warned his former side that they face a major test in order to keep Sadio Mane quiet in tonight’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Liverpool, as reported by the Mirror (1 May, page 57).
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were beaten by Real Madrid in heartbreaking fashion in last year’s final but they are hoping to go one better 12 months on. To exercise those ghosts of Kiev, however, they must find a way to defeat La Liga champions Barcelona over 180 minutes.
And the electric form of Sadio Mane certainly gives them a chance. All the focus will rightly be on Barca superstar Lionel Messi ahead of the game but Liverpool also have an attacker at the top of his game, the Senegal international having scored a career-best 24 goals in all competitions this season.
And Xavi, who won four Champions League crowns at the Camp Nou, has warned Blaugrana left-back Jordi Alba that he must be at his best to keep Mane off the score sheet again.
“Alba has so much experience in big games for Barcelona and Spain and will need to use all that experience to keep Sadio Mane quiet,” Xavi said.
“He has been playing at the same level as Mo Salah this season – and his pace and his goalscoring ability makes him so dangerous.”
Mane has scored four times in 10 Champions League games in 2018/19, including two in a 3-1 away win at Bayern Munich.
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