Liverpool news: Staff confused by Michael Owen's theory involving Sadio Mane

Michael Owen had a strange theory on Liverpool star Sadio Mane

Those behind the scenes at Liverpool are convinced Sadio Mane has been on the receiving end of rough treatment in the Premier League, according to The Athletic

What are the examples? 

Within the deep-dive written by James Pearce and Mark Carey, they reveal that staff at the AXA Training Centre think the 28-year-old's confidence has been knocked by the fact he has not been treated fairly. 

They cite events against Southampton and Newcastle United in the winter where they believe he should have been awarded a penalty, as well as a report that staff were also confused by Michael Owen's comments following the recent loss to Chelsea. 

What did Owen say? 

“I couldn’t believe he didn’t go down there and look, I’m not advocating he does,” he said to Optus Sport when discussing the fact Mane (still rated at £90m by Transfermarkt) didn't go down after contact in the box. 

"Normally you see attacking players (go down) … 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’.

“We all know how competitive attacking players are. We all know how selfish, in a way, strikers are. These players have been going for the Golden Boot the last couple of seasons.

“I just wonder, I might be far off the mark, whether if he was dancing around a player thinking he could get a shot off, if he is thinking ‘this is my opportunity to score’.

"The competitive nature between him and Mo Salah. It might be a wild theory, but we’ve seen them not passing to each other when one is in a perfectly better position than the other, and it just makes me wonder."

What are the statistics? 

Of course, it's hard to prove Mane should have been awarded penalties given that it is either up to the referee or those manning the much-discussed VAR system but, the fact is, he is actually drawing more fouls per game than he has done in the previous two seasons. 

Indeed, according to WhoScored data, his average of 2.5 won every league game is bettered by only three players in the entire Premier League. Again, that doesn't prove he shouldn't have been awarded penalties but does show he is rewarded on that front more than most players. 

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Jordan Rossiter

Jordan Rossiter

Has his confidence been knocked? 

It certainly would appear so. 

FBREF data shows that last season, Mane outperformed his xG by +4.2 (suggesting he scored over four goals more than he would have reasonably been expected to based on the quality of chance offered) but is actually -4.8 below that mark this time around. 

Despite the fact he's averaging more in the way of shots per game (3.03 to 2.49), his finishing appears to be increasingly wayward, indicating he's snatching at chances. 

At the moment, the shooting statistics don't look good for Mane, though it'd take a brave observer to write him off. 

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