Liverpool have now suffered five home losses on the trot in the Premier League, the latest one coming at the hands of Chelsea on Thursday. And once again, it was the likes of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah who failed to deliver in the final third.
The Blues won the game by a margin of 1-0 and Liverpool could manage only one shot on target during the whole match. And even this shot was also a really tame header during the final quarter of the game.
Sadio Mane though had a few chances to put the ball into the back of the net and one of those came when he could have easily gone down inside the box and won a penalty. Instead, he chose to ride Christensen’s challenge and stay on his feet.
This decision did not have any positive impact and speaking after the match, Liverpool legend Michael Owen has produced a rather shocking theory about why Sadio Mane chose to stay on his feet when any other forward in the world would have been looking for the penalty.
‘I couldn’t believe he didn’t go down there and look, I’m not advocating he does,’ Owen told Optus Sport, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
‘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.”
— James John (@JamesJohn2427) March 5, 2021
‘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 (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.’
This is truly a bizarre theory, something which is really hard to digest but the way Liverpool are playing this season, nothing looks out of sorts. Yes, they have had to deal with numerous injuries but their front-three have managed to remain fit all throughout the season and it’s them who are failing to deliver any of the goods.
The likes of Fabinho and Kabak are doing more than a decent job at the back but players like Mane and Firmino have been really underwhelming, especially during the second half of the season.
The five consecutive home losses mean Liverpool are now seventh on the league table and they are seriously fearing the worst. Teams like Spurs and Aston Villa are breathing down their neck and both these sides have games in hand.
So, if Liverpool do not get their act together soon enough then by the end of the next international break, they could be closer to the relegation zone than towards the top of the table.
Stats via Whoscored.com.