“He can have no complaints.”
John Aldridge has defended Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave Sadio Mane out of his starting XI against Manchester United on Thursday night.
Mane made headlines by refusing to shake Klopp’s hand after Liverpool claimed a 4-2 victory at Old Trafford.
But Aldridge insists Mane had no right to complain because not only did Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah justify their selection by finding the net but, according to the former Liverpool striker, Mane has not been anywhere near his best this season.
“The difference the other night was the three strikers Klopp picked all scored, with his decision to play Diogo Jota in place of Mane proving to be the right one,” Aldridge wrote in the Sunday World.
"There is no problem there…" 👀
Jurgen Klopp explains why Sadio Mane refused to shake his hand at FT at Old Trafford pic.twitter.com/2v5ZTa9J1z
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 13, 2021
John Aldridge on Sadio Mane
“Mane showed how unhappy he was to have been left out when he refused to shake hands with Klopp at the final whistle, but he can have no complaints.
“Sadio has slipped well below his best this season and Klopp had every right to make that call, which was justified as Jota scored a fine goal and looked a threat all night.
“Now Klopp will be hoping Mane uses that anger in the right way and starts playing as we know he can in these final three matches, as this top-four battle could come down to goal difference in the final analysis.
“What Liverpool cannot afford to do is look too far ahead, as one slip now and this final chance to qualify for the Champions League will be gone.”
Mane recently admitted that this season is the worst of his career and the 29-year-old even underwent medical tests in the hope of identifying a physical explanation for his shortcomings this term.
Mane returned to Liverpool’s starting XI for Sunday’s clash with West Brom, with Jota ruled out due to injury.