Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah came to blows in August 2019 during a Premier League game against Burnley… but Roberto Firmino’s reaction shows its nothing to worry about
The Senegal international was substituted shortly after the row and continued to show his frustration on the bench, as team-mates tried to calm him down.
At the time, many feared the argument could hamper team harmony but it proved to be just part and parcel of the game as Liverpool stormed to the title.
“We are team-mates on the pitch and in the dressing room, we have a very professional relationship,” said Salah when asked about the incident last week.
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“We both give everything we have to help the team win. Maybe we’re competing to show who is the best, and this is normal in any team and a legitimate right for any player.
“But in the end, we serve the team. Sometimes we’re selfish in some plays, but no one puts their interest above the team.
“It’s not intentional, whether from me or him, perhaps there was some tension in a previous match and now everyone tries to associate everything with it.
“This [the Burnley game] was the first time people talked about this matter and linked every ball that I didn’t pass to him or he didn’t pass it to me to this situation.
“But Sadio assisted my goal two games ago and I assist him as well.”
Few have branded Salah a “selfish” player since, with the Egyptian leading the Premier League’s goals and assists charts this term.
“I was frustrated a bit too much,” said Mane when asked about the incident in November 2019. “I said it to him on the pitch, and protested when I was taken off because I was so frustrated.
“It’s the first time we had a little tiff like that. Even him, he was surprised after the match. He said to me ‘Sadio! Why are you being like this?’ I said ‘Because I’m so frustrated!’
“After we made sure to talk to clear the air. But it remains a great pleasure to play besides him because I have the feeling we speak the same type of football.”
And Firmino’s tunnel reaction to the bust-up shows it was nothing for manager Jurgen Klopp to worry about.
In the Instagram video first shared by Liverpool, the Brazilian is walking in between Salah and Mane as they return to the dressing room.
Firmino looks at the camera, smiling and struggling to contain his laughter at being in the middle of an awkward situation.
“Wait for Roberto Firmino’s face,” reads Liverpool’s caption on the video, accompanied by laughing emojis.
Fellow Liverpool star Andy Robertson was also keen to play down the incident in his 2020 autobiography ‘And Now You’re Gonna Believe Us’.
“It was brilliant for the lads at the back,” joked Robertson.
“We have dozens of arguments every game so we got to enjoy this one, especially with it becoming a national talking point within seconds.
“It was something and nothing but the main thing was we had got another win to maintain our perfect start to the season.
“I was in the shower with Mo and Sadio afterwards. I was right in between them and they were both laughing and joking.
“People don’t see that – they only see what happens on the pitch, but behind the scenes the spirit in our dressing room is top class.”