Firmino talks about the crisis between Salah and Mane, Klopp’s concerns, and the worst kept secret at Liverpool

Brazilian Roberto Firmino, the striker for Al Ahli Saudi team and former star of Liverpool, spoke about some of his memories of his time with the “Reds” before moving to “Al Raqqi” in the past summer.

Firmino, 32, has been with Liverpool since the summer of 2015 after coming from Hoffenheim. He then left the “Reds” after the end of his contract to join the Saudi professional league through the Al Ahli team.

The British newspaper “Guardian” quoted a number of points that Firmino talked about in his book, the most important of which is the relationship between the Egyptian star Mohamed Salah and his former teammate, the Senegalese star Sadio Mane.

One of the highlights between the duo Salah and Mane was during the match against Burnley and Liverpool in the 2019-2020 season, which saw “Reds” crowned the English Premier League title after an absence of almost 30 years.

This game witnessed a crisis between the two players due to Salah not passing the ball to Mane, despite the latter being in a good position in front of the goal, leading the Senegalese star to express his anger during the substitution.

Firmino revealed the backstage of this crisis, saying: “Perhaps the coach (Jurgen Klopp) and others were concerned, I think Liverpool fans laughed when they saw my reaction, and they put their concerns aside and went to celebrate another victory with their friends.”

He added: “During the tunnel leading to the dressing room, I was walking between the duo, specifically behind Salah and Mane, and the camera captured me laughing, in fact, I couldn’t help but laugh, and this was evident on my face, and the image became circulated mockingly on social media.”

He continued: “Sadio Mane expressed his anger when he came out, and in fact, I can’t tell you exactly what Sadio Mane said because my English is not good, but it wasn’t something nice, and James Milner tried to calm him down, but Sadio remained angry and sat angrily on the bench.”

What did Firmino say about Salah?

Firmino talked about Salah in his book, saying: “I don’t know if he was aware of it or not, but Salah used to frustrate everyone when he didn’t pass the ball, but I knew how to handle this situation better than most people.”

He revealed: “Klopp addressed this issue in front of all of us and explained that when a teammate is in a better position, the ball must be passed, and this hint was directed at Salah.”

He continued: “I must say that this aspect of Salah has improved noticeably, and gradually learned to be less selfish and more cooperative.”

Firmino concluded his talk about Salah and his attacking role: “In fact, Salah is a striker and a scorer, and every striker tends to be greedy in pursuit of scoring, and that is fair.”

His role with Mane

Another point that the Brazilian striker talked about was his role with the Senegalese star Sadio Mane, to reveal: “Mane is the strongest in both good and bad moments, he was the most controversial among the three of us, and he was the person I had the most freedom to discuss his crisis with Salah.”

He continued: “I used to talk to him and give him advice and try to calm him down, I would like to tell him to find peace and play for the team.”

Firmino pointed out: “They were never the best of friends, it was rare to see a conversation between them, and I’m not sure if the reason was competition between Egypt and Senegal in African competitions, I really don’t know, but they also never stopped talking or cut off their relationship, they acted most professionally.”

About his philosophy with Salah and Mane, he explained: “That’s why I was the person they loved, I always passed the ball to both of them, my goal was the team’s victory.”

He added: “Perhaps for that reason, I was the person who was often substituted by Klopp, because the trio of Firmino, Salah, and Mane are completely different personalities, and Klopp knew that I wouldn’t throw a bottle on the ground or anything like that.”

He continued: “If I was upset, I would talk to him (Jürgen Klopp) privately afterwards, when there was a need for a substitution, it was easier to replace Bobby instead of bothering either of the other two (Salah and Mane).”

He concluded: “Everyone in that team, everyone knew how things were going, that was the worst kept secret at Liverpool, and of course, no one asked me what I thought or how I felt, but this is my nature, the team comes first and Klopp knows that.”

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