Mané brace does the trick for Liver­pool

CityPress - - Sport -

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.

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