Jurgen Klopp has jumped to the defence of Sadio Mane in the aftermath of Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton. He was absolutely right to.
For one, the Senagalese ace was undoubtedly Liverpool’s best player on a disappointing night. He was also incredibly honest with his decision to not force a penalty during a duel with Kyle Walker-Peters.
It was the second occasion where Mane could have enforced a decision from the referee but chose not to. There was a similar incident with Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow four days prior, after all.
There had previously been claims that the Liverpool forward looks to go down too easily in the box from rival fanbases and pundits alike.
However, recent events have made such notions to look ridiculous. And Klopp felt compelled to prove so after the match, as a result.
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“The best situations were pretty much when Sadio had the ball,” he said, as per Sky Sports.
“If anyone ever says that Sadio Mane is a diver again, it’s the biggest joke in the world.
“If this boy went down easy, we could have had a penalty in this game and a stonewall penalty in the last game [against Newcastle]. But what Andre Marriner did with Sadio Mane tonight, I’m not sure that’s OK, to be honest.
“He tried absolutely everything, a few great challenges with [James] Ward-Prowse, but there were a lot of situations which were free-kicks as well. The last situation where he goes down in the box if you see that, he [Walker-Peters] hits him again with his left foot. It’s another penalty.”
What RTK has to say – Klopp right to defend Mane diving allegations?
Klopp is absolutely spot-on and right to jump to the defence of his £34 million forward.
Twice in the space of a week, Mane has resisted the urge to force a situation in the box. He is clearly more intent on scoring, then.
As such, it proved costly as Liverpool could have benefited from a spot-kick given their failure to create anything clear-cut during the match.
The Reds have managed to clock up just seven shots in their previous three matches, after all. It would be normal for Liverpool to force situations in the box given they are in a bit of an attacking rut.
However, that isn’t the Liverpool way clearly. Last season the Reds were awarded just five penalties over a 38-game season. Manchester United by contrast, came out on top with 14.
This term, Liverpool have already matched last season’s total. The Reds have, however, already conceded five spot-kicks, as well. That’s four more than the total given against them during 2019/20.