Mané brace does the trick for Liverpool
Sadio Mané showed Liverpool exactly what they have been missing in the past six weeks as he bagged a brace in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield in the Premier League last night.
Mané returned to the first team two weeks ago against Chelsea after spending most of last month on international duty with Senegal, but was largely ineffective against the Blues or Hull last week.
However, he was back to his brilliant best against Spurs and was completely unplayable for the opening half an hour of the match.
After a decent start by the visitors in the early exchanges, Mané shifted gears just after the quarter-hour mark. Georginio Wijnaldum split the defence in half with a beautiful ball to the 24-year-old, who smashed the Reds into a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, he was at it again, this time finding himself in the right place at the right time to pounce on the rebound after Hugo Lloris saved an Adam Lallana to double Liverpool’s advantage.
The striker was oozing confidence and causing all sorts of problems for the Spurs’ back four with tricky step overs and cheeky back-heeled passes.
Despite the match being less than 25 minutes old, the Lilywhites defenders would have been praying for half-time for a chance to get a break and maybe plan a way to deal with Mané.
He was then played through oneon-one with the keeper and just managed to squeeze the ball underneath a sprawling Lloris, but the France international got just enough on it to push it wide of the post. Lloris was again called into action moments later, having to once again deny Mané.
Spurs had a good spell of possession towards the end of the first half, and their best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Son Heung-min when he was played into the box by Dele Alli, but the South Korean’s shot was well saved by Simon Mignolet.
The visitors were much improved after the break after receiving what was, presumably, a pretty harsh halftime team talk from manager Mauricio Pochettino.
The north London outfit also had a clear strategy to deal with Mané as Alli began following him around the pitch and fouling him every time it looked like he was about to break away. As a team, they picked up four yellow cards in the second half alone.
Philippe Coutinho was denied a wonderful individual goal when he pulled his shot narrowly wide after a mazy dribble through the Spurs defence with about 15 minutes left in the match.