(Reuters) – Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both scored twice on the final Sunday to share the Premier League’s Golden Boot award for top scorer with last season’s winner Mohamed Salah.
The achievement of the three African strikers left Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp especially proud as he has played such an important part in the development of the trio’s careers.
They all ended on 22 goals for the league campaign after Senegalese forward Mane scored twice in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers to join his Egyptian team mate Salah.
Arsenal’s Gabonese forward Aubameyang followed his midweek Europa League semi-final hat-trick in Valencia with a second-half double that helped the Gunners to a 3-1 win at Burnley.
Though Mane and Salah’s 44 goals proved in vain for Klopp as his side lost out on the league title to Manchester City, who won 4-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion, he had reason to smile.
“Auba too?” said the German, on learning that Aubameyang, his former signing at Borussia Dortmund, shared the accolade.
“Do they have three boots? It is good. They are all my players.”
The 22-goal winning mark was the lowest since the 2010-11 season when Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov and Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez shared the Golden Boot with 20 goals apiece.
Aubameyang was delighted over the trio’s African connection, saying: “I share this trophy with two other guys I like, great players and African. We are representing Africa, that’s cool.”
Salah, who had scored 32 goals last season, was not as prolific this term as in his record-breaking 2017-18 campaign but both he and Mane finished a goal ahead of champions Manchester City’s top marksman Sergio Aguero.
Of course, the Argentine, who matched Thierry Henry in scoring 20 or more goals in five straight seasons in the Premier League era, probably netted the most crucial goal with his equaliser at Brighton that set City on course for the title.
(Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Ken Ferris)