Peterborough United's Toney, Maddison & Eisa - more prolific than Salah and co

Marcus Maddison, Ivan Toney and Mo Eisa (left to right)
Marcus Maddison, Ivan Toney and Mo Eisa (left to right) were bought for a combined fee of around £2.5m

They have scored more goals this season than Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

In fact, Ivan Toney, Marcus Maddison and Mo Eisa have a combined goals total that is higher than every other club in England's top four divisions - with the exception of Manchester City and Oxford United.

Peterborough United have long been associated with developing up-and-coming strikers, selling around £30m of attacking talent over the past decade.

Toney, Maddison and Eisa are the club's latest hotshots and they spoke to BBC Sport about being England's most prolific front three.

'We're happy hogging the goals'

Peterborough's 39 goals from 17 League One games makes them the country's highest scorers - but more staggering is that 33 of those have been shared by the three players.

Toney and Eisa have 12 each and Maddison nine - with Eisa and Maddison also scoring once in the FA Cup.

Midfielder Josh Knight is the only other player to find the net more than once for Posh this season.

"We've got a great partnership, us three - every game we know we're going to score, and that confidence is a good thing to have," club-record signing Eisa told BBC Sport.

"The manager [Darren Ferguson] puts so much pressure on us. Because we've got the three of us I think we'll continue this throughout the whole season."

A continuation of their current 2.29 per game average would see Posh bag 100 league goals this season and surely see them secure a return to the Championship after a seven-year absence, having been relegated in 2012-13 despite earning 54 points.

"We're happy hogging the goals, but if others chip in it's obviously great," said former Newcastle striker Toney.

"We just want to score as many goals as we can, all three of us, and I'm sure if we all come off the pitch and none of us have scored we're going to be angry."

Goals graphic

But despite the trio's exploits Darren Ferguson's side are only fourth in the table - below Wycombe, Ipswich and Coventry who have scored 27, 25 and 22 goals respectively - primarily because of five defeats .

"When I first signed for Peterborough I wanted to achieve promotion, and unfortunately year after year I've failed to achieve that with my team-mates," said playmaker Maddison, who claims he "doesn't score goals" despite his nine so far this term.

His manager agrees that however prolific his forwards are, it is the league position in May that matters, saying: "It's all well and good them scoring goals and having a fantastic season [but] if we don't get what we're after then it won't be deemed as a success by anyone."

'Flawed geniuses' wanted

Since chairman Darragh MacAnthony took over 13 years ago, Peterborough have signed several exciting forward players and sold them on for big profits.

Dwight Gayle, Britt Assombalonga, Jack Marriott, Craig Mackail-Smith, George Boyd and Lee Tomlin all made names for themselves at Peterborough - and the list doesn't end there...

So what is the club's recipe for talent-spotting success?

"You're looking for a flawed genius. At our level you're not going to get a genius unless there's flaws," said MacAnthony, who last year sold half of his stake in the club to two Canada-based investors.

"Brentford, Preston and Barnsley have definitely followed us on the talent, gem and lower league scouting side of things.

"We're probably the best producers of talent from a revenue point of view, when it comes to attacking players."

George Boyd (left) and Craig Mackail-Smith celebrate
Boyd (left) and Mackail-Smith were two thirds of Posh's so-called 'holy trinity', alongside Aaron McLean

The past decade has seen a conveyor belt of sharp-shooters pass through Peterborough, with Ferguson - in his third spell as manager - at the forefront alongside the owners and director of football Barry Fry.

"I think our model's a very good one - it's now being repeated by others but we started it a long time ago in the sense that we wanted young, hungry players that could be coached and developed, and try to fulfil their potential," Ferguson said.

The thing that sets the club aside from most is they almost court offers for their players, hyping them up and putting them firmly in the shop window - but for a price.

"As well as a sport, football is a business. The best clubs in the world lose their players - who would've thought Real Madrid would sell Ronaldo?" MacAnthony said.

"If a player wants to go he's going to go - we give players an opportunity, if they do well and a bigger club come in, and it works for us, then fine."

Toney the jewel in the crown

While former Cheltenham and Bristol City striker Eisa is seen as the finisher and Maddison - described as being a "free spirit" and "misunderstood" - is the so-called assist king, the biggest excitement currently centres on 23-year-old Toney.

He emerged at Northampton before a move to Premier League Newcastle, where his four substitute appearances matched the number of spells he spent out on loan.

Costing just over £500,000 in the summer of 2018, he already has 35 Posh goals to his name, leading the chairman to insist a League One record fee - eclipsing the £11m paid by Everton for Ademola Lookman in 2017 - would be needed to prise him away.

"Ivan Toney is better than what we've had before and his physicality means he'll go for more," said Irishman MacAnthony.

"All our strikers have had pace but he has physical presence. That's why I put a premium on Ivan - if anyone in the top half of the Championship buys him, that gets promotion - which is worth £200m.

"He will in the future go and we'll have to replace him."

Ivan Toney with the matchball
Toney scored a hat-trick in Peterborough's 6-0 win over Rochdale in September

Toney's manager agrees he could "top the whole lot" of strikers to have passed through the doors over the past 10 years, which is quite a compliment.

Whether he is sold in January, next summer or later remains to be seen, but the player himself is casual about all possible outcomes.

"Everyone can say how much we're worth, or how much we're going to go for, but we can't really look into that too much," he said.

"If there's a move on the cards and it doesn't happen then that's not going to affect any of us because we're all happy where we are, scoring goals and playing well."