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Star Man Sadio Mane Puts Liverpool 5 Games From Premier League Glory



Sadio Mane Goal
Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane was named on Liverpool’s bench ahead of their game against Norwich at Carrow Road, but it was he who provided the moment of class to give Liverpool their 17th consecutive Premier League win, and leave them needing just five victories to claim their first league title since 1990.

The Senegalese was back in the picture having recovering from injury, and though the 27-year-old didn’t start the game, his manager Jürgen Klopp was in no doubt that he would play a part. 

Maybe he didn’t expect it to be such an important part but, then again, maybe it was the plan all along.

“I want to use him, just not for 90 minutes,” said Klopp before the game. “He trained normally, and yeah, we want to use him.”

And he was used to full effect. Liverpool bounced when Mané entered the game with an hour gone, having only bobbed ineffectively beforehand.

The No. 10 added a spark down the left wing which hadn’t been provided by the man he replaced, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and immediately created danger. His through-ball to Mohamed Salah made Norwich’s packed defence appear breakable, and it wasn’t long before Mané himself was breaking through it.

A sweeping but pinpoint pass from Jordan Henderson found the 27-year-old who still had plenty to do. It would have been a difficult ball to control in perfect conditions, but the swirling wind provided by Storm Dennis made it even more of a challenge.

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It proved no problem for the proficient Mané who, in mid air himself, brought the ball down with one touch of his right boot. As first touches go it was up there—Dennis Bergkamp-esque.

He turned his body as he landed, and found the back of the net with one swing of his left boot.

Mane goal Liverpool Norwich
Sadio Mane

The standout attacker in a team of standout attackers was back, and ensured Liverpool’s lead at the top was extended to 25 points.

Prior to Mané’s arrival it had been a slog for Liverpool who launched attack after attack with hope rather than conviction.

Roberto Firmino showed his class on occasions, and must have been back to Brazil during the mid-season break. The striker was full of tricks, dragging passes around the corner and generally turning on the style. Then you see the other side of his game when he pops up in defense, chasing back to help win the ball for his team.

Liverpool’s Brazilian at the other end, Alisson, made a crucial intervention. Lukas Rupp may have been given offside had a goal been scored and the VAR called into play, but Alisson made sure it didn’t get to that stage, getting a big glove in the way of Rupp’s pass to Teemu Pukki when the Finn would have had a tap-in.

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Goalless at half time. A well organised Norwich and a frustrated Liverpool.

Norwich City v Liverpool FC - Premier League

The visitors advanced and the hosts retreated. Two banks of four in defence from the home side, with Pukki and Ondrej Duda providing an outlet and further interrupting Liverpool’s buildup.

Naby Keita tested Tim Krul from distance and the Dutch stopper tipped the ball over the bar. The Reds midfielder should then have scored from close range when pouncing on a rebound from Salah’s shot but Krul gathered from the rushed effort which summed up Liverpool’s play to that point.

Out of nowhere Alex Tettey came as close as anyone had to opening the scoring, letting go from an unlikely position and hitting the foot of the post, but with 12 minutes remaining Mané went one better, striking his 100th goal in English football and 75th for Liverpool.

Informed of this statistic in an interview with Sky Sports after the game Mané replied: “Really? Thank you.”

Liverpool fans would no doubt reply: ‘No, thank you Sadio Mané.’

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