Michael Owen has made the outlandish claim that Sadio Mane did not go down in the box during Liverpool’s defeat by Chelsea to prevent Mohamed Salah scoring a penalty.
The Reds fell to their fifth consecutive home defeat on Thursday night with Mason Mount scoring the game’s only goal.
Liverpool struggled to create chances throughout the match but Mane did burst into the area in the first half, where he was challenged by Blues defender Antonio Rudiger.
Rather than go down under the forceful tackle, the Senegalese stayed on his feet and the chance came to nothing.
And Owen claims the reason Mane did not hit the deck was to hinder Salah’s pursuit of the Golden Boot.
“There was an occasion in the first half where every single Liverpool fan in the world probably thought ‘Penalty!’ I couldn’t believe he didn’t go down,” the former Liverpool ace told Optus Sport .
“I’m not advocating he does; normally you see attacking players (go down).
“I just wonder whether he is thinking, ‘Hang on a minute, I’m going to score, because if I don’t stand on my feet Mo Salah is going to get another penalty’.
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“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.”
Salah won the Golden Boot in the 2017/18 campaign before sharing the accolade with Mane and Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the following season.
This term, the Egyptian leads the Premier League scoring charts with 17 goals, two clear of nearest rival Bruno Fernandes.
Do you agree with Owen’s claim? Have your say in the comments.
Mane, meanwhile, has endured a sub-par season by his own lofty standards and has managed just seven league goals.
Owen added: “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.
“We are talking about selfishness and (being) a little bit disgruntled, we’ve seen Salah shaking his head (when substituted).
“We know how much they want to win the Golden Boot, I just think a couple times there I’ve seen Sadio Mane go down there.”
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