Former Liverpool striker, Michael Owen, has histrionically accused the club’s forward, Sadio Mane, of avoiding winning penalties as he doesn’t want teammate, Mohamed Salah to score.
Owen made the claims after Chelsea defeated Liverpool 1-0 in the Premier League on Thursday night at Anfield, thanks to Mason Mount’s strike.
Recall that Salah, who is Liverpool’s first-choice spot-kick taker, looked set to be handed another golden chance to increase his goals tally to 18 this season from 12 yards when Mane gave the Chelsea goal.
Andreas Christensen dangled out a clumsy leg but Mane got to teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold’s ball first.
There may have been enough contact for Mane to win a penalty, but instead, the Senegalese star attempted to meet his heavy touch to score.
Mane and Salah are both pushing to finish at the club’s top-scorer this season, even though the Egyptian international boasts ten more goals to his name.
But Owen feels the competition between both African players has taken on a nasty twist.
“I couldn’t believe he [Mane] didn’t go down there and look, I am not advocating he does,” Owen told Optus Sport.
“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 few devious thoughts creeping into my head, 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 have seen them not passing to each other when one of them is in a much better position than the other.
“We are seeing a little bit of selfishness, we are seeing a little bit of disgruntled behaviour – Mo Salah shaking his head (when he was subbed off).
“I just think a couple of times there, I have seen Mane go down for those kinds of opportunities…and (to not do it) two games on the spin? It just made me think a little bit.”