Legendary Liverpool striker Michael Owen has sensationally accused Sadio Mane of avoiding winning penalties as he doesn’t want team-mate Mohamed Salah to score.
Owen’s claim came shortly after Liverpool’s 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea condemning them to a fifth straight loss at Anfield.
Mane and Salah are jostling to finish as the club’s top scorer this campaign, although the Egyptian superstar boasts 10 more goals to his name, and Owen believes the competition between them has taken on an unsavoury twist.
The bizarre accusation from former Golden Boot winner Owen centres around Mane not going to ground inside the box in the knowledge that Salah is Liverpool’s first-choice spot-kick taker.
And Salah, currently the top-flight’s leading scorer, looked set to be handed another golden chance to increase his tally to the season to 18 from 12 yards when Mane burst forwards towards the Chelsea goal.
Andreas Christensen dangled out a clumsy leg, and Mane got to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s ball first. There may have been enough contact for the Senegal international to win a penalty, but instead he attempted to meet his heavy touch to score.
“I couldn’t believe he didn’t go down there and look, I’m 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 little bit of 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.”
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star added: “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 (when he was 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.”Copyright © 2022 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.