Roberto Firmino shares 'worst-kept' Sadio Mane & Mo Salah secret

Roberto Firmino has gone in-depth on Liverpool's Mo Salah and Sadio Mane in his new book. They were the best front-three in football.

Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were the finest front-three in football for a period. That trio won everything at the top level, broke records, and asserted themselves into the legacy of Liverpool FC.

But while they were synonymous with one another, it wasn't the easiest trio to manage. That's according to Firmino, who talked about his two strike partners in his new book.

Firmino alleges that Salah and Mane rarely talked with one another and while things weren't hostile, there was a rivalry between the two that sometimes made things tense.

This was something Jurgen Klopp then had to manage. The passage on the trio has been serialised in the Guardian and features Firmino explaining that he was one who had to sacrifice.

"I never took sides," he writes. "That’s why they love me: I always passed the ball to both; my preference was for the team’s victory. Many focus on what I brought to the attacking trio in tactical terms, but perhaps just as important was the human element: my role as peacemaker, unifier. If I didn’t do that, it would be nothing but storms between the two of them on the field.

"Maybe that’s why I was the one most often substituted by Klopp. The three of us had very different personalities and the Boss knew I wouldn’t throw a bottle to the ground or anything like that. If I was bothered, I’d talk to him privately afterwards. When a substitution was needed, it was easier to take Bobby off than to upset either of the other two.

"Everyone, including the other players, knew that’s how it worked. It was the worst-kept secret in Liverpool – naturally, no one ever asked what I thought or how I felt. That’s just my nature; the team comes first. The Boss knew it."

It can't be a shock to hear for anyone who witnessed the trio wreaking havoc on European football. Salah and Mane were always a little frosty and sometimes that boiled over a bit - notably at Burnley in 2019. Firmino talks about that particular incident where Mane was visibly angry at Salah for not passing him the ball.

And so it seems fans owe Firmino even more respect than he already has. He helped manage the pair of them, allowing them to thrive as they did. The Brazilian was willing to sacrifice his own minutes to keep them happy - let alone his goal tally.

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