Liverpool returns to winning with Sadio Mane at the Forefront

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Liverpool returns to form with a 2-0 win against Tottenham on Saturday. They reignited their top-four challenge with a victorious score of 2-0 at Anfield. In the first half of the game Sadio scored twice which showed amazing pace and movement from Klopp’s side.

The Spurs were unable to find a foothold in the match and Liverpool’s defence was difficult to be troubled by Pochettino’s team. The title dream for Tottenham ended at Merseyside night. Dele Alli and Harry Kane were seen struggling to make an impact in the Saturday’s match.

Liverpool had a terrible start to the year but with this win they showed their 2016 form of playing. They approached the game with a pace starting from the kickoff which was difficult for the opposition to live with. The Spurs defence seemed confused and breathless after the opening exchanges and within the 20th minute the game was efficiently over.

Mane scored his opening goal after 16 minutes and it was already a warning for the Spurs. They knew where it was coming from and should have dropped their midfield deeper to recompense. The front four of Liverpool were across the centre of the park and Mane took the advantage.

Tottenham was not yet out of the shock when the lead was doubled and Eric was robbed by Mane. By that time there were red shirts everywhere. Within the next few minutes Mane could have made it a hat trick as Wijnaldum set him free again. But the shot went wide and then the 24 year old put forward an effort wide from the corner of the box.

Liverpool seemed to have more scope in the match and Pochettino looked powerless to find a solution for his team’s miseries. Tottenham manager changed the shape of the team after half-time but the Spurs were unable to trouble the hosts. Klopp’s team were less perceptive in the second half but they were still more dangerous.

Five yellow cards were awarded to Tottenham and Liverpool was back in their form. Spurs reflected a poor performance. Liverpool had a bad start due to Mane’s absence and his return was eagerly anticipated. He proved in the match against Tottenham that why he was missed so much.

It is not about the number of goals but Mane’s movement creates a space that allows the forward line to play in dangerous places. Mane’s presence helps Coutinho to get higher up the pitch. Klopp’s side was full of energy right from the beginning which was missing in the past few weeks. They created dangerous situation in the first 10 minutes of the game, even before the first goal by Mane.

Liverpool have struggled with the teams that stack their defence. But it was unbelievable that Tottenham would provide so much opportunity to their opponent. Dier was not in his most effective role and Jan Vertonghen’s presence was missed.

Pochettino changed the shape of the team into a diamond in the second half but there was little consistency for Tottenham in the centre of the park. Pochettino need three or four more players for a serious title challenge. He also needs to build a clear vision about dealing with teams such as Liverpool. The players and Manager are still on a steep learning curve at White Hart Lane.

 

Mane returns after week of misery for Liverpool

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The season was once promising for Liverpool but then they lost three matches at home in eight days. It was the end of a horrible week for the team with a difference of 10 points with the lead in the Premier League and they have been submissively knocked out of two cups.

The results have been bad enough for the team but the matter of concern is their poor performances. This is a hard time for Liverpool and another enervated performance has eliminated them from the FA cup by the Championship strugglers Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

The results might look like rock bottom but things might turn difficult for Jurgen Klopp and his feeble squad with Chelsea heading to Merseyside on Tuesday. Antonio Conte’s league leaders are in a good form and they have won 16 out of their last 18 games in all the competitions. They are the polar opposite of the struggling team of Liverpool presently.

This game would have been a nail biting one with the bearing that who would be the champion some time ago. But now it looks like another match for Chelsea on their way to the Title. Football is not very predictable though and it can be seen from Liverpool’s past week’s event show.

Klopp’s selection of team against Wolve has got what it deserved but there was also good news on Saturday. Sadio Mane missed his penalty in an African Nations Cup quarter final shootout against Cameroon which resulted in the exit of Senegal from the tournament.

Mane left a vote of confidence for his squad before departing for the tournament. He wished them good luck and said that the team will perform even better without him. They will cope as Philippe Coutinho and Joel Matip will come back. Daniel Sturridge is already back.

Mane must feel like a parent who left his kids to take care of the house but when he returns from the trip the house has burned down already. When he was leaving, the team had been chasing silverware on three fronts. But now they have been knocked out of two cups and desperately fighting to be on top four in the league.

Liverpool is frantically waiting for Mane to take over the team from where he left off. He might be in need of rest when he returns but the Kopites hope that this is not the case and Mane return with the spark that has been missing in past few weeks and which is required for Liverpool right now.

The last three defeats have caused a great damage to Liverpool but the biggest obstacle that is needed to be rectified now is the breakdown in their form. Klopp and his players need to focus on their upcoming games and forget everything that has happened in the past weeks. Wins against Chelsea and Hull next week can be a great turning point for the team.

It seems unlikely but even the three Anfield defeats in a weak were unexpected given the fact that Liverpool hadn’t lost any game at home for one year. Mane has returned, Matip is also available and Coutinho is now fit which gives Klopp a full-strength squad to perform. They just need to go out and win some matches for the club now.

 

Sadio Mane puts Liverpool ahead of Everton

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It will hardly go down as a football classic, but nonetheless, Liverpool has won three points from their latest outing and that is all what matters for Jurgen Klopp at the moment. Described by football commentators as one of the least eventful matches in the Premier League so far, both teams failed to create opportunities, let alone score goals in the 90 minutes. And it wasn’t for Mane’s rebound goal in the 94th minute; nobody would have even bothered watching the replay ever!

It was just one of those nights. Two teams lost in a wilderness in the middle. Liverpool failed to create many opportunities and the ones that looked promising was nipped in the bud by the Everton midfield. Looking back, there were hardly any scoring opportunities created by Everton. A huge chunk of credit should go to Daniel Sturridge, who in the 94th minutes reminded us all why he is such an expensive player.

At the end of the full 90 minutes, the chances of Liverpool walking away with 3 points never seemed probable, thanks to some wayward shooting and lack of goal scoring opportunities. Sturridge was introduced in the attack a mere 15 minutes before the end and from out of the blue; he produced a shot that a regular goalkeeper should have saved without much fuss. But not Joel Robles. He allowed it to roll past him and the ball rebounded off the goal post to a waiting Sadio Mane, thus pushing Everton to their first home defeat in nine months. Maybe with their regular goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg with them, Everton may have surely denied the Reds the three points. Perhaps, it was fitting that the goal was as uneventful as the rest of the game.

However, Jurgen Klopp refused to belittle the win on account of the dull display. He attributed the lackadaisical performance to the ‘wild football’ Everton played. He insisted that the best he could expect from such an opponent was three points, whether it came out of an uneventful match or a classic.

Perhaps the only man in the field for whom the victory must have been extra sweeter could be the goal scorer himself, for it always is a great feeling to win against a former manager’s team. Ronald Koeman, the Everton manager, might rue the fact that he had to go into a high-profile match without Gareth Barry, which seemed to have disrupted his whole game strategy. To compensate for the loss of his star player, Koeman infused a few athletic performers into the side and to an extent; they served the purpose of running around aggressively and making the occasional tackle. But, none of them could match the skill of Barry, which resulted in a dearth of scoring opportunities.

Even when he was introduced at half-time, there was too little time left to redraw the strategies and just like the others, he had to go through the motions and if it wasn’t for Mane’s moment of brilliance, it could well have been a match that everyone would forget before the next match.