“I knew those guys very well, maybe better than anyone,” he reveals in his autobiography, Si Senor: My Liverpool Years. “It was me out there on the field, right in the middle of them. I saw first-hand the looks, the grimaces, the body language, the dissatisfaction when one was mad at the other.
“I could feel it. I was the link between them in our attacking play and the firefighter in those moments. My instinct and my duty was to defuse the situation between them. Pour water on the fire – never petrol.
“I don’t know if he was aware of it or not, but Salah used to frustrate everyone when he didn’t pass the ball. I knew how to handle that situation better than most. Klopp addressed this issue in front of all of us: when a teammate was in a better position, the ball had to be passed. It was a clear hint aimed at Salah.
“Over the years, I must say, this aspect of his game improved significantly. He gradually learned to be less selfish and more cooperative – notwithstanding the fact that he is a striker, a goalscorer, and every goalscorer tends to be a bit ‘greedy’ in the pursuit of a goal. That’s normal.
“Mané was more intense in both good and bad moments. He was the most explosive of the three of us and he was also the person with whom I had the most freedom to discuss this issue. I was always talking to him, giving advice, trying to calm him down. I would tell him to find peace, play for the team, and stay relaxed.
“They were never best friends; each kept himself to himself. It was rare to see the two of them talking and I’m not sure if that had to do with the Egypt–Senegal rivalry in African competitions. I truly don’t know, but they also never stopped talking, never severed ties. They always acted with the utmost professionalism.”