Mane strikes late to give Liver­pool derby joy

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Sadio Mane’s 94th minute tap-in en­sured Jur­gen Klopp en­joyed his first visit to Ever­ton with a 1-0 win that saw his Liver­pool team move into sec­ond in the Pre­mier League on Mon­day.

A game with an abun­dance of pas­sion and pride failed to de­liver many goal­mouth in­ci­dents and seemed more likely to be re­mem­bered for the fail­ure of ref­eree Mike Dean to send off Ever­ton’s Ross Barkley in the sec­ond half. The mid­fielder was shown only yel­low for a vi­o­lent stamp that struck Jor­dan Hen­der­son above his an­kle. But deep in in­jury time, Daniel Stur­ridge cut in­side and saw his well-aimed shot strike the foot of the right-hand post, re­bound­ing into the six-yard area where Mane re­acted first and con­verted the game’s only goal.

That dra­matic goal al­lowed Liver­pool to move to within six points of league lead­ers Chelsea, with Manch­ester City a fur­ther point back in third. Ever­ton, with just one win in seven, are ninth.

“It’s a won­der­ful feel­ing,” purred Klopp to the BBC. “Re­ally, re­ally good. It was a long, long stop­page time. We gave them no chances. We de­served to win.”

His Ever­ton coun­ter­part Ron­ald Koe­man, who was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing his first Mersey­side derby, dis­agreed. “The sub­sti­tutes of Liver­pool had a big im­pact in the fi­nal re­sult,” Koe­man told Sky Sports.

“We didn’t keep the ball af­ter the break so much. The team didn’t de­serve to lose the game.” How­ever, Koe­man con­ceded Barkley was for­tu­nate to stay on the pitch. “Barkley, maybe he was lucky. Maybe it’s a red,” said Koe­man, who in his hey­day as a player was renowned for his phys­i­cal­ity.

With­out a derby win in the last six years, and with just one vic­tory from the last 19 fixtures with Liver­pool, Ever­ton had started the game in im­pres­sive and ag­gres­sive fash­ion but lost their way af­ter the in­ter­val.

Af­ter 22 min­utes, Barkley-the only na­tive Merseysider on ei­ther side-pushed the ball wide to Aaron Len­non whose cross forced Rag­nar Kla­van into an im­por­tant in­ter­cep­tion with Romelu Lukaku poised to con­nect at the far post. Then mo­ments later, an­other Ever­ton attack ended with Leighton Baines set­ting Barkley away for a 25-yard shot which passed within feet of the post.

Ever­ton were unset­tled at the in­ter­val by the loss of the in­jured mid­fielder James McCarthy, who ac­cord­ing to Koe­man has a ham­string in­jury and made way for vet­eran Gareth Barry, and Liver­pool fi­nally be­gan to make an im­pres­sion on pro­ceed­ings.

On 50 min­utes, the vis­i­tors carved out the best chance of the game with James Mil­ner’s long pass see­ing Roberto Firmino shrug off Ramiro Funes Mori and ad­vance clean through only for Maarten Steke­len­burg to deny him with a brave block.

Lukaku eased the pres­sure, mo­men­tar­ily, when he headed just over while twist­ing, off­bal­ance, to meet Barry’s pass but it was only a brief respite as Mane ex­changed passes with Firmino on 57 min­utes and was de­nied by the com­bined ef­forts of Baines and Steke­len­burg.

That in­ci­dent proved costly for the Ever­ton goal­keeper who could play on for only an­other seven min­utes be­fore be­ing forced off with a leg in­jury, hand­ing the gloves to sub­sti­tute Joel Robles. Barkley was for­tu­nate only to be shown that yel­low card in that 67th-minute in­ci­dent, which an­gered De­jan Lovren and saw play­ers briefly square up to each other-a flash­point which also led to a book­ing for Ever­ton’s Sea­mus Cole­man.

The vis­i­tors con­tin­ued to en­joy the bet­ter of the clos­ing stages with Robles mak­ing the save of the match, div­ing quickly to his left to keep out Firmino’s vol­ley on his line be­fore the goal, and Cole­man hav­ing to clear a Firmino shot off the line in the sixth of eight min­utes added on. —AFP

LIVER­POOL: Liver­pool’s Croa­t­ian de­fender De­jan Lovren (2R) vies in the air with Ever­ton’s English mid­fielder Ross Barkley dur­ing the English Pre­mier League foot­ball match be­tween Ever­ton and Liver­pool at Good­i­son Park in Liver­pool, north west Eng­land on Mon­day. — AFP

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