Liverpool left it late to beat local rivals Everton in a hard fought Premier League match this Monday night, with a goal from Senegalese forward Sadio Mané.
Liverpool crossed Stanley Park this Monday night to take on local rivals Everton. Anyone who was expecting a game of free flowing football were in for a slug fest between the 2 rivals.
Joël Matip didn’t make the starting line up which meant that Ragnar Klavan kept his place alongside Dejan Lovren in the heart of defence.
Everton for their part decided to leave Gareth Barry on the bench and stick with the midfield pairing of Barkley and McCarthy, a pairing that served them well in the second half win against Arsenal in midweek.
A bonus for Liverpool came in the way of seeing both Daniel Sturridge and Emre Can on the bench as they make their return from injury.
The game started at a hectic pace but took a few minutes to settle down. Seamus Coleman was seeing alot of the ball early on and getting away his crosses but the Liverpool defence were coping well with everything he threw at them.
Everton started the better and were pushed right up high into the faces of the Liverpool players pushing them back. As expected they mainly were using high balls over the top for Lukaku and down the sides hoping to gain crosses and set pieces.
Everton controlled this game for the first 25 minutes but were unable to make their possession and high territory pay off, their only real chance came from a low cross into the box which Lukaku was unable to get to ahead of Klavan.
From 30 minutes on Liverpool were able to assert themselves and started to push forward. They were able to find their man up front with quicker neater passing and some hold up the play.
The first half came to an end with out either goalkeeper having much to do and Liverpools best effort of the half came from a low cross into the front post from Nathaniel Clyne which Divock Origi got to first but his shot just went wide of the post.
As the second half started everyone was hoping that Jürgen Klopp would have been able to work his magic again and send the team out with a different mentality to that with which they started this game.
Which ever team started the second half best would probably go on to win such was the fine margins in this game of poor quality and few chances.
It was Liverpool who came out of the blocks fastest with Origi and Mané looking sharper to the ball and looking to turn and run at the defence more.
On 55 minutes Dejan Lovren was booked for blocking off Ross Barkley in the centre circle but by this time Liverpool had Everton penned into their own half with the home team simply unable to get out to apply pressure to the Liverpool goal.
The next half hour was more or less non stop pressure from the away team just looking for that clinical final ball to decide this game.
On 79 minutes Roberto Firmino tried a difficult bicycle kick from a corner in the box sending it high over the bar.
Daniel Sturridge and Emre Can entered the fray on 81 minutes to replace Divock Origi and Adam Lallana respectively.
Everton’s defending was becoming very hectic and messy as they were now just trying to hold out for a final whistle that would now include 8 minutes of injury time mostly due to an injury to the Everton goalkeeper which led to him being replaced.
And it was during this period, on 93 minutes that Daniel Sturridge picked up the ball and dribbled and cross the line on the 18 yard box looking to get and his shot off, it bounced back off the post and the incoming Sadio Mané was able to poke the rebound in to the Everton net, sending the away fans in to raptures.
Mané’s goal was a real poachers goal and he fully deserved it for the performance he put in. Daniel Sturridges contribution to the goal being instrumental also as he took on a shot after making the space himself.
A vital win away at one of the harder places to go and moving Liverpool back up into second place in the table. The importance of the win obvious by the mangers reaction on the sidelines too.
It was a messy win but on the positives the defence dealt well with what was thrown at them which wasn’t a lot to be fair, but it was important to show that both Lovren and Klavan could deal with the threat of Lukaku.
Liverpool’s second half dominance paid off eventually in a game of few chances.
Chasing Chelsea will be hard as of now but the importance of such a hard fought win away at the local rivals will give more confidence to a side that is starting to get players back from injury just at the right time too.
Written by @StephenKing75