Liverpool were forced to settle for a draw at home to Chelsea on Saturday evening as Mohammed Salah’s tenth Premier League goal of the season was cancelled out by a late equaliser from Willian.
While the game provided a decent amount of entertainment, one of the main talking points in the aftermath was Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave both Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on the bench for arguably one of the biggest games of Liverpool’s domestic season.
Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain occupied the front three in their absence, and many fans were left baffled by Klopp’s decision to introduce both Mane and Adam Lallana later than first anticipated.
Following the final whistle, it appeared clear that Mane was keen to voice his frustrations toward Klopp, with footage emerging of words being exchanged between the two.
With many pundits questioning whether or not Mane was venting his anger at being benched by his manager, Klopp was keen to brush the incident under the carpet, stating that their disagreement was to do with positioning rather than the Senegal international being left out from the beginning.
Klopp said, via the Liverpool Echo:
“I was shouting at him because he was in the centre.
“But no player’s happy about that when you come on to the pitch with three minutes left and you feel like you’ve got 150 minutes in your legs already.
“He was not happy and said to me ‘Mo (Salah) wanted to come in the position’ but Mo already had 90 minutes in his legs.
“So it would have made more sense that Sadio was close to the right wing and starts from that position.
“It’s not a big thing, we could have done it in the dressing room, it would have been the same thing. Everything is sorted immediately.”
While the incident appears to have been less than what we all initially imagined, the relationship between Klopp and one of his star players will certainly now be put under the magnifying glass in the next few weeks – as fans may grow frustrated should Mane be introduced so late in a crucial fixture in future.
Perhaps this one should have been left to the dressing room.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena
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