Mane winner hands Liverpool deserved derby victory


Everton 0-1 Liverpool –

Sadio Mane’s injury-time winner sparked jubilant scenes among Liverpool fans at Goodison Park. The Reds did enough in the second half to merit their derby victory against Everton, who were unable to sustain their high-energy start.

In the first 20 minutes, the hosts applied relentless pressure, James McCarthy and Idrissa Gana Gueye bossing the midfield. Roberto Firmino was too slow to get out to Seamus Coleman, who got forward superbly and put crosses in for the powerful Romelu Lukaku.

Ragnar Klavan was not given much protection from the Belgian by James Milner and the midfield, so he had to be shrewd and step off his opponent. This meant that Lukaku saw a lot of the ball, but also that he was unable to turn and get a sight at goal. Klavan and to an extent Dejan Lovren, who was similarly cautious in his early defending, showed they can keep a cool head in the absence of Joel Matip.

Liverpool gained more control midway through the first half yet both goalkeepers remained untested. The Reds came closest when Nathaniel Clyne crossed for Divock Origi, but the Belgian fired over from close-range.

The Reds looked better when Origi moved to the left and Firmino pushed more centrally, but much of their second half play came down the right. Clyne got forward with more energy, combining with a tireless Mane to cause problems for a timid Leighton Baines. Jurgen Klopp’s side got into good areas, but needed more men in the penalty area and a willingness to take shots on quickly when they got there.

Everton’s defensive players worked hard throughout but Lukaku, Aaron Lennon and Ross Barkley started jogging to close Liverpool down, rather than sprinting as they had done early on. It became increasingly easy for their rivals to find space in the opposing half and eventually, they began to test the goalkeeper. Joel Robles had replaced the injured Maarten Stekelenburg and was forced into a reflex save from Firmino after Milner’s corner.

Enner Valencia’s end product had not been great, but he had provided an outlet and Everton missed the forward’s raw energy when he was replaced by Dominic Calvert-Lewin. A more successful substitution saw Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge make an impact from the bench and play a part in the winner. The 27-year-old’s shot trickled past Robles and onto the post before Mane tapped home.

His goal means Everton have lost seven of their last 13 games and defeat re-emphasizes the need for major changes in their squad. The contrasting joy of Liverpool fans at the final whistle is not limited only to local bragging rights – they have moved to within six points of leaders Chelsea, extra belief and momentum thrust behind them.


The Football Lab is sponsored by Classic Football Shirts.