“That’s the problem”: Michael Owen identifies key issue with two Liverpool starters

Michael Owen believes that although Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have scored a bucket-load of goals for Liverpool, they’re not natural finishers.

Liverpool were extremely wasteful against Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon, taking 22 shots on goal but only testing Martin Dubravka nine times. They scored one goal but really should have been at least 3-0 up at half time.

The real story of the Reds’ demise this season isn’t their defensive woes – it’s their seeming inability to score goals with the regularity they once did. The 55 goals Liverpool have scored this season in the Premier League is a 23% decrease in goals scored at the same stage last year.

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) comes on to replace Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (R) during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Liverpool at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on April 19, 2021.(Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)

During BT Sport’s coverage of the clash between Liverpool and Newcastle United, Owen said: “That’s the problem: Mane, brilliant player, scores lots of goals. Salah, an unbelievable player as well, scores lots of goals.

“But they’re not natural finishers, they’re not someone that you can hang your hat on.

“They’ve scored goals consistently because Liverpool have, like today, created so many chances but they’ve been wanting, or the team have been found wanting a lot of the season with missed chances.”

Owen might not be a fan favourite among Liverpool supporters anymore after he joined Manchester United in 2009 but he’s got a good point. Mane is hugely wasteful and he’s certainly not an instinctive finisher like Harry Kane and Salah is also prone to missing big chances.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 24: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring their side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on April 24, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by David Klein – Pool/Getty Images)

Salah scored the only goal of the game after his first touch bamboozled Matt Ritchie, giving him the time and space to fire an excellent snapshot past Dubravka. Yet, he missed a glorious chance to put the game to bed with a 1 v 1 which he shot straight at the ‘keeper.

Sadio Mane then missed a chance of his own after Salah squared the ball to him. Roberto Firmino is worse than Mane and Salah, with the Brazilian’s finishing far below the level that is required at Liverpool.

His role in the side isn’t to be the leading goalscorer but his shooting has reached a point where he can’t be trusted to find the back of the net in dangerous positions.

LEEDS, ENGLAND – APRIL 19: (THE SUN OUT,THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Liverpool at Elland Road on April 19, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Diogo Jota is out of form at the moment as well but he’s not a no.9 and that’s what the Reds are crying out for.

Top strikers go for a premium and Liverpool need to invest in one this summer or find a way to add more goals from midfield because Mohamed Salah cannot be the only player scoring regularly – it’s not healthy.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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