“We’ve seen them not passing to each other when one of them is in a much better position to the other.”
Owen was speaking in the aftermath of Liverpool’s fifth home defeat in succession which leaves the champions four points outside the Champions League places and a staggering 22 behind rivals Manchester City.
The former Liverpool striker is convinced that Mane wanted to stay on his feet in order to get the goal himself and deny his teammate a chance to score from the spot.
“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.
“I just wonder whether he is thinking ‘hang on a minute, I’m going to (try and) score, because if I don’t stand on my feet Mo Salah is going to get another penalty’."
A damning suggestion from @themichaelowen!
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) March 5, 2021
“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.
“If he thinks he’s getting a chance to score he thinks ‘well I’m not 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.”
Mane & Salah
While admitting that it is a “wild sort of theory”, the 41-year-old does feel there is evidence that the two Liverpool strikers don’t pass to each other when the pass is clearly the right option.
“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,” Owen explained.
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The Chelsea midfielder puts the Blues ahead at Anfield
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 4, 2021
“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 two games on the spin? It just made me think a little bit.”