Liverpool stars up for African Player of the Year

Updated at 22.15

MO SALAH FACES competition from Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez in his bid to be named African Player of the Year for the third time in a row.

The Premier League stars have been named as the final three contenders for the award, which has belonged to Egypt international Salah for the past two years.

Algeria winger Mahrez won it while still at Leicester City in 2016 but Mane looks to be Salah’s closest competitor after twice finishing as runner-up to his fellow Anfield favourite.

The pair were both essential in Liverpool’s march to their first Champions League title since 2005 this year, won thanks to a Salah penalty in the final against Tottenham. 

His strike partner, however, has also enjoyed a rich vein of form for both club and country. 

Mane has scored freely throughout 2019 and helped Senegal reach the Africa Cup of Nations final, which they lost to Mahrez’s Algeria.

With three goals Mane was top scorer for his nation in the tournament, with Mahrez also reaching that figure on his way to lifting the trophy.

The playmaker also helped City take the Premier League title by one point in May, beating out Liverpool in nail-biting circumstances.

Cameroon’s Ajara Nchout, Nigeria and Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala, and last year’s winner Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa are shortlisted for the African Women’s Player of the Year award.

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The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Hurghada, Egypt on 7 January.

Should Salah once more be named as Africa’s best player, he will join a select group of players to win the award on three or more occasions.

Ex-Barcelona star Samuel Eto’o and former City enforcer Yaya Toure are the only men to have lifted the prize four times, while George Weah and Abedi Pele triumphed on three occasions.

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