Sadio Mane’s desire to outscore his teammate Mohamed Salah could be damaging Liverpool at the moment, pundit Michael Owen has claimed.
The pair, along with the rest of their teammates, have endured a dire run of form of late. The pair drew another blank on Thursday evening as Chelsea recorded a 1-0 win at Anfield. It leaves Liverpool down in seventh and Jurgen Klopp having to defend claims that several stars could leave.
Mane did have the chance to score in the first half, while he could have won a penalty in the second half after an Andreas Christensen challenge.
The Senegal striker instead opted to stay on his feet – and Owen reckons that was intentional in order to stop Salah bagging from the penalty spot.
“I couldn’t believe he didn’t go down there and look, I’m not advocating he does,’ Owen told Premier League Productions. “It was a great touch and he possibly thought he might get a chance at the end of it. But he did something similar a week ago [against Sheffield United].
“I just wonder, and it might be a little bit of devious thoughts creeping into my head here…
“Mo Salah is the penalty taker in this team, and if he [Mane] thinks he’s getting a chance to score he thinks, ‘well I’m going to score, if I don’t stay on my feet, Mo Salah’s going to get another penalty’.
“These players have been going for the golden boot for the past couple of seasons.
“It might be a wild sort of theory, but the competitive nature of him and Mo Salah…
“We’ve seen them not passing to each other when one of them is in a much better position to the other.
“We’re seeing a little bit of selfishness, we’re seeing a little bit of disgruntled behaviour.
“Mo Salah shaking his head [after being subbed off]. ‘I just think a couple of times there, I’ve seen Mane go down for those kind of opportunities…and [to not do it] two games on the spin? It just made me think a little bit.”
Klopp distances himself from Salah agent
Klopp, meanwhile, intends to steer clear of involvement with Mohamed Salah’s agent after his cryptic tweet on Thursday evening.
Ramy Abbas Issa made the intriguing post after Klopp substituted his star client during the defeat to Chelsea.
Asked about the agent’s tweet, Klopp insisted that he would talk to Salah if he felt there was a problem to address.
He told reporters (via the Liverpool Echo) on possible solutions to the issue: “Talking, that’s always how it is. I’m not even sure if this situation is now a reason for a proper talk about it.
“Because there are different things. We are 1-0 down, that makes no player happy when you go off. You cannot react how you want to react in different ways because you are not happy about the game.
“On top of that you get subbed, you are a striker, you think you should stay on the pitch. That’s all completely clear, but it’s not a problem, it’s just normal life.”