Liverpool are in trouble.
The champions have won just three of their previous 13 Premier League matches and have now suffered five straight losses at Anfield.
That wretched form has seen them tumble to seventh in the table but they’re likely to be ninth after teams below them have played their games in hand.
While a lot of Liverpool’s struggles this season has been put down to their defensive woes with long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, the front-three just haven’t been firing of late.
Liverpool have drawn blanks against Newcastle, Southampton, Manchester United, Burnley, Brighton, Everton and now Chelsea in recent months despite Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino being available.
All is not well and that much could be seen when Jurgen Klopp substituted Salah on the hour mark. The Egyptian couldn’t quite believe it as he shook his head and slumped off the pitch.
Klopp admitted after the match that he could’ve easily replaced Mane and Firmino instead.
Salah is the Premier League’s top goalscorer and actually created a fantastic opportunity for Mane in the first half with a superb pass. Mane attempted a first-time effort but completely miscued it.
But that wasn’t the only moment in the first half where Mane frustrated Liverpool fans.
Inside the opening 10 minutes, he beat Andreas Christensen to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross as the Chelsea defender mistimed his challenge. Most players would’ve gone down under the defender’s challenge but Mane attempted to get on the end of his touch to score – something he was unable to do.
While many will praise Mane for staying on his feet, many Liverpool fans wanted him to go down to win a penalty.
Well, according to a wild theory from Michael Owen, he simply doesn’t want teammate Salah scoring another penalty.
“I couldn’t believe he didn’t go down there and look, I’m not advocating he does,” Owen said on 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 (against Sheffield).
“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, and if he (Mane) thinks he’s getting a chance to score he thinks ‘well I’m going to score, if I don’t stay on my feet, Mo Salah’s going to get another penalty’.”
“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’."— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) March 5, 2021
A damning suggestion from @themichaelowen!
Huge if true…#LIVCHE Reaction 👇 #OptusSport
“These players have been going for the golden boot for the past couple of seasons.
“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.
“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 (to not do it) two games on the spin? It just made me think a little bit.”