Michael Owen has claimed that Liverpool forward Sadio Mane could be intentionally not trying to win penalties for fear of Mo Salah pipping him to top goalscorer.
Mane came under the microscope yesterday for – admirably – staying on his feet against Chelsea when he appeared to be clipped inside the box. Play resumed, with Liverpool’s move peetering out to nothing in the end.
Salah is the top scorer for the Reds and both he and Mane have been regular goalscorers in recent seasons, sharing the Golden Boot two seasons ago.
But Owen, speaking to Optus Sport during the game, has made what he calls a ‘wild theory’ could be holding Mane back.
“We all know how competitive attacking players are. We all know how selfish, in a way, strikers are. These players have been going for the Golden Boot the last couple of seasons,” Owen said.
“I just wonder, I might be far off the mark, whether if he was dancing around a player thinking he could get a shot off, if he is thinking ‘this is my opportunity to score’. The competitive nature between him and Mo Salah. It might be a wild theory, but we’ve seen them not passing to each other when one is in a perfectly better position than the other, and it just makes me wonder.”
TBR View: Surely not? Owen has to be wide of the mark here
This is one of the more outlandish calls from a pundit in recent times. Sure, Mane and Salah both love scoring goals, but surely they aren’t willing to sacrifice the good of the team to do so?
Further to that, Salah also played Mane in with a glorious pass in the first 45, something Owen failed to mention.
You can see where the Liverpool legend is coming from here. But surely he is well wide of the mark.