The ex-Reds striker admits
it is important for forwards to focus on themselves at times, with other
members of the squad adopting a different mindset
Mohamed Salah’s “selfish” streak will not be a problem for Liverpool, says Michael Owen, with Sadio Mane’s public show of frustration at Burnley set to be quickly forgotten.
The Reds’ Senegal international forward was less than amused with the actions of a fellow frontman during a 3-0 victory at Turf Moor.
Mane made his feelings known when substituted in the second half, with Jurgen Klopp forced to play the incident down as a mere outpouring of emotion.
Liverpool striker Owen considers that to be no bad thing, with it
important for goalscorers to be a little self-centred as they operate
alongside more selfless characters.
He told ESPN FC: “When you look at Liverpool’s front three, you have Roberto Firmino, who is probably the most unselfish player in the world – he would lay on anything – so would be a dream to play with.
“At the other end of the spectrum, you have Mo Salah, who is just
focused on scoring and wanting to be the goalscorer. Then you have Sadio
Mane, who sits in between – he likes scoring and is selfish when he
needs to be – but he’s also quite generous in his passing.
“I think you have a great balance there, but it just boiled over the
other day. I was doing the [Burnley vs Liverpool] game for television
and I said at the time: ‘Have you seen that? There are a couple of times
he [Salah] should have been passing.’
“Of course, it all blew up and I saw it coming in many ways. These
problems happen all the time and it’s Jurgen Klopp’s job to smooth them
over. But I do think that, as a striker, there is a balance in
“There has to be one that’s unselfish and one who is
selfish, otherwise you are never going to get any goals. I was always at
my best with Emile Heskey – he was really unselfish and I was a really
“But put me with another selfish player – another striker who was
hungry for goals – and you wouldn’t necessarily hit it off the same.”
Liverpool have been quick to sweep any talk of a rift between Salah and Mane under the carpet and Owen does not expect there to be any cause for concern at Anfield.
He added: “I don’t think it will be a problem that will last.
“Next time Salah gets the ball, he will probably be more conscious
that he has to pass sometimes, if there is a better opportunity.
“If he does, I guess it will be forgotten about, but these players
are playing right on the edge at the very highest level and little
things can just happen like that. It’s fine. These things happen all the
time in every dressing-room – you get arguing all the time.
“Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp, it happened in front of the cameras
and he had to dampen it down, but things like that happen all the time
at every club. Sometimes having an argument is quite a good thing
because it keeps everyone on their toes.
“You are talking about 25 men in a squad who live in each other’s
pockets for nine-10 months a year, so you are always going to have
arguments, scuffles. Not everyone will get on, but it’s the manager’s
job to piece it all together.”