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Michael Owen has bizarrely claimed that Liverpool forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are "not natural finishers" after his former club drew 1-1 with Newcastle.
Salah opened the scoring in the Saturday kick-off with a superbly taken goal, but Liverpool missed a host of chances before Newcastle equalised five minutes into injury time at Anfield. Owen, however, said both Salah and Mane have "been found wanting" this season.
"That's the problem: Mane, brilliant player, scores lots of goals. Salah, unbelievable player as well, scores lots of goals," said Owen, who scored 158 goals for the club, per the Metro.
"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."
It seems a particularly strange accusation to level at Salah on the day he became the first Liverpool player to score 20 goals in three different Premier League seasons.
The Egyptian doesn't play as an out-and-out centre-forward but he still boasts 123 goals in 198 games for Liverpool and is fairly clinical in front of goal. So we're not sure what Liverpool academy graduate Owen means.
Mane has struggled at times this season and isn't as prolific as Salah - but he tends to play slightly further out wide and his still scored 94 goals in five seasons, while netting in some huge games.
Liverpool certainly wasted chances against Newcastle, with Mane one of the guilty party. But if Salah isn't a natural finisher, Owen's standards must be sky-high.
Owen is saying Mane and Salah are not natural goal scorers. I swear I heard him last season saying United needs natural goal scorers like Mane and Salah ♂️
- Richy (@RMoganeSekatane) April 24, 2021
Ironically, then England manager Glenn Hoddle was once widely ridiculed for claiming the teenage Owen wasn't a natural finisher (though he later said his comments had been taken out of context and called Owen - who scored 40 goals for the Three Lions - one of England's greatest finishers).
Owen scored some crucial goals for Liverpool, including two in an FA Cup final win over Arsenal in 2001, the year he won the Ballon d'Or.
However he damaged his standing with many supporters by leaving the club to join Real Madrid, then eventually joining Liverpool's arch rivals Manchester United, where he won a Premier League winners medal.
That was deserved for a player with 150 Premier League goals.
Whether Owen's criticism of Mane's and - particularly - Salah's finishing ability was justified is another matter entirely.
All imagery: PA Images
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