Mane didn't go down for penalty against Chelsea due to Golden Boot rivalry with Salah, claims ex-Liverpool forward Owen

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Sadio Mane Antonio Rudiger Liverpool Chelsea 2020-21
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The Senegal forward was challenged by Antonio Rudiger in the area but stayed on his feet rather than trying to win a spot-kick

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen believes Sadio Mane didn’t go down for a penalty in Liverpool’s defeat to Chelsea on Thursday because he didn’t want Mohamed Salah to score from the spot.

Mane stayed on his feet after a challenge from Antonio Rudiger, with Liverpool eventually suffering a fifth consecutive league defeat at Anfield.

But, rather than an honest piece of play from a forward trying to score a goal, Owen suggested Mane was sabotaging his long-term team-mate’s hunt for the Golden Boot.

What has been said?

“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,” Owen said on Optus Sport.

“I’m not advocating he does, (but) 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’.

“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.”

Are Salah and Mane rivals for the Golden Boot?

Salah is the Premier League’s current top scorer despite Liverpool’s struggles. He has 17 goals to his name, two more than Bruno Fernandes in second place. Mane, with seven, is 20th on the list.

Mohamed Salah Sadio Mane Premier League Golden Boot

Salah won the Golden Boot outright in 2017-18, before he and Mane shared the award with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the following season.

Owen continued: “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.

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“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.

“Two games on the spin when the opportunity is there… it just made me think a little bit.”

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