Michael Owen has admitted he was amazed that Sadio Mane did not go down when challenged by Karl Darlow in the box during Liverpool’s 0-0 stalemate with Newcastle on Wednesday.
The league leaders were held to their fourth draw in their last six Premier League games to offer hope to the chasing pack, with Manchester United now just three points behind their bitter rivals having played a game less.
One moment of controversy in the game came when Magpies goalkeeper Darlow appeared to grab the foot of Reds forward Mane as he attempted to scramble the ball in the net from a rebound.
A penalty wasn’t given, however, and speaking on Amazon Prime at full-time Owen suggested Mane should have thrown himself to the floor in order to win a spot-kick.
“I’m astonished that Mane didn’t shout and ask the referee why it’s not a penalty and I’m surprised he didn’t go down because he’s quite clearly grabbed by both arms,” Owen said.
“One certainly touches and the other grabs him. It’s open to debate whether he would have tapped it in without getting grabbed there, possibly not.
“But whatever the situation you can’t grab someone’s legs and he’s quite clearly grabbed his right leg there and prevents him from swinging it.”
Owen thinks that although Mane should be praised for not making the most of the challenge, his manager Jurgen Klopp may be ruing his honesty.
He added: “We should applaud honesty as well, we see so many times this season players going down when there’s hardly been any touch or no touch at all, so I think we should applaud it.
“But I’m sure Jurgen Klopp would be thinking tonight if he went down, he can’t come out and say it, but I’m sure he’s thinking if he went down we would have won a penalty there.
“It just goes to show it’s virtually impossible for a referee to give a penalty unless you do down. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, referees don’t mind, in fact they prefer, if you go down and it gives them a decision to make.
“In that instance everyone can say what they like, ‘oh yes, it should have been a penalty’ but no referee will give that.
“So it’s almost better for a referee if you go down, give them a decision to make.”