Robbie Fowler has sympathised with a ‘frustrated’ Sadio Mane after the forward appeared to snub Jurgen Klopp following Liverpool’s win at Old Trafford.
Mane is in the midst of what he admitted was the worst season of his career. With three games remaining, the Senegal international has yet to break into double figures in the Premier League – last season, he bagged 18 for the title-winning Reds.
His goal in the 2-0 win against Southampton last weekend was his first at Anfield in 2021, but Klopp selected Diogo Jota ahead of Mane on Thursday as Liverpool travelled to Old Trafford.
The Portugal forward drew Liverpool level as they came from behind to win 4-2, with Mane limited to a 16-minute cameo. After the match, the Senegal winger seemed to shake his head and walk away from Klopp rather than acknowledging the manager, who played down the incident in his press conference on Friday.
For Fowler, it was not a slight against the manager, arguing that Mane wanted more from a ‘selfish’ standpoint. The Toxteth native told The Redmen TV:
“He’s massively disappointed. I’ve been there – you’re taken off or you’re not playing.
“It doesn’t mean anything bad or derogatory towards you’re Jurgen Klopp. I think he’s just a little bit frustrated
“It’s probably being a little bit selfish in terms of what you think you can do as a player. I’ve not got a problem with it. There’ll be many more times it will happen.”
Fowler was then asked if it could actually be construed as a positive sign, and he agreed that Mane had demonstrated his hunger. He said:
“If you want someone to come off a pitch and be really delighted because they’re not playing, then I don’t think he should be playing again.
“He’s showing people that he cares, he’s showing people that he’s passionate. Okay, there’s probably an element of ‘maybe he should have done it away from the camera’, but he cares and Jurgen will know he’ll care.”
In a way, it was surprising to see Mane dropped to the bench after scoring two in his previous three games, but Klopp’s decision paid off.
The manager would surely prefer the 29-year-old to be fired-up rather than dejected, and he’s going to need the Senegal star back to his best next season if his side are to overhaul Manchester City and reclaim their Premier League title.
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