Jurgen Klopp Plays Down Sadio Mane's Reaction During Liverpool's Win vs. Burnley

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2019

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Liverpool at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on August 31, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp isn't worried about Sadio Mane's angry reaction after the forward was substituted during Liverpool's 3-0 win away to Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.

In fact, Klopp has told reporters "everything is fine" despite acknowledging Mane was "upset."

The Senegal international scored the Reds' second at Turf Moor to help send them above Manchester City and back to the top of the table. However, Mane made a passionate and animated exit when his number was called with five minutes to go.

Klopp was asked about the situation, but he preferred to play down its significance:

Neil Jones @neiljonesgoal

Klopp on Mane. "He was upset, that was obvious. Sadio cannot hide his emotions and I like that. But all sorted. We spoke about it and everything is fine. “We are individuals, we are emotional. It was a situation in the game he wasn't happy about. That's completely fine.' #LFC

Mane had been replaced by Divock Origi, but the source of his unhappiness might have been Mohamed Salah failing to tee him up for a tap-in shortly before the change:

Daily Star Sport @DailyStar_Sport

Is this why Sadio Mane was unhappy when he came off? Liverpool fans certainly aren't convinced #LFC https://t.co/8Wx8vM9Tuh https://t.co/K5hQJGpVyW

Jack Sear @JackSear

Sadio Mane absolutely fuming that Salah didn’t set him up for his second goal 😂

If this is the root cause of Mane's frustration, it presents a potentially delicate situation for Klopp to deal with. Animosity between his two primary goalscorers could wreck the chemistry Liverpool have built and used as a platform for success in recent seasons.

The Reds have become a force again, both domestically and in European competition, thanks largely to the symmetry and production of a marquee front three. Mane and Salah are the star attractions ably supported by the vision and flair of unsung hero Roberto Firmino, who was also on the scoresheet against the Clarets.

Unlike nearest title rivals City, last season's UEFA Champions League winners are almost totally reliant on their front three for goals. It's likely why Klopp has couched his words in diplomacy when asked whether Mane could have a grievance against Salah.

There are those, including Uche Amako of the Daily Express, who believe Liverpool's No. 10 has every right to be angry with his team-mate:

Uche Amako @UcheAmako

Sadio Mane fuming on the Liverpool bench. The level of greediness in Mo Salah's at the moment is off the scale at the moment. Way too selfish. Mane always seems to come off first as well and has every right to feel aggrieved #BURLIV

Klopp appears content to laugh this brief episode off, but fostering some creative tension could actually work to Liverpool's advantage. This kind of environment would likely see Mane and Salah use an in-house rivalry to push each other to even greater heights.

They already bring out superb performances in each other:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

30 – Since the start of last season, no Liverpool player has scored more goals in all competitions than Sadio Mane (30 – level with Mo Salah). Relentless. https://t.co/chni7Fr20E

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

⚽️ Most goals for @LFC in 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣9️⃣ #BURLIV 2️⃣1️⃣ Sadio Mane 🥇 1️⃣4️⃣ Mo Salah 🥈 8️⃣ Roberto Firmino 🥉 https://t.co/uhPkgBStFr

Relying on tension to provide extra motivation for the strike partners to outdo one another might give the Reds the something extra they need to beat City to the title this season.

Ultimately, this question probably disappears long before it can be answered. Liverpool's forwards have supported each other excellently over the last few seasons without any drama.

Jim Boardman @JimBoardman

Full time. Excellent win from #LFC, a clean sheet too! 3-0, Liverpool firmly on top of the league. Of course, Sadio Mané being the only person in the world ever to show some emotion eclipses all of that and will rightly dominate the headlines...

Even so, it won't stop rivals from keeping a close eye on how Klopp's match-winners co-exist going forward during this campaign.