A Liverpool win over Manchester United is an unmitigated good. Having the thrilling 4-2 result be a first win over their arch rivals at Old Trafford since 2014 that also puts the Reds within touching distance of a Champions League spot has Liverpool supporters over the moon.
A masterclass from Jürgen Klopp, who sent his squad out hungry and eager to take the game to the Red Devils, started with the German’s lineup that saw Sadio Mané benched in place of Diogo Jota.
The Portuguese forward went on join fellow attackers Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the scoresheet. Despite the famous win Mané appeared to not appreciate the decision to bench him with cameras showing the Senegalese winger rejecting his manager’s attempt at a handshake following the final whistle.
Despite his struggles in a season he has labelled the “worst in his career,” the 29-year-old had scored two goals in his last two games and appeared to be irked at the benching in such a crucial match. The Reds boss sought to play down the notion of a rift in his post-match interview:
“No, there’s no problem,” Klopp told Sky Sports after the game. “I made a late decision yesterday in training to go for Diogo.
“The boys are used to that. I would usually explain it but there was no time for that. It is all fine.”
"There is no problem there..."— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 13, 2021
Jurgen Klopp explains why Sadio Mane refused to shake his hand at FT at Old Trafford pic.twitter.com/2v5ZTa9J1z
It was a big call from the boss considering the ex-Southampton man’s recent uptick in form but the results speak for themselves. Those sniffing around for controversy would draw parallels to Mané’s strop at being substituted for eventual double scorer Salah in the 7-0 mauling of Crystal Palace in December.
However, the Reds no. 10 went on to make a point of posting a team-first message on Instagram shortly after the United match making this one of those instances when the competitive fire just got a little out of control.