Scoring the winner in your first Merseyside Derby is a surefire way to endear yourself to the Liverpool faithful, as if Sadio Mane had not already done that. He pounced when Daniel Sturridge’s shot deflected off the post in the 93rd minute to give the Reds the lead and all but secure the three points for good, sparking wild celebrations in the Goodison Park away end.
Mane was a menace throughout the game on Monday evening despite scoring with his only shot on target, as he ran Leighton Baines ragged with his pace and trickery, winning two of his three dribbles and frequently cutting inside to bamboozle the ex-Wigan full-back who was previously linked with the Reds.
The 24-year-old was once again one of the key players for the side as they dominated Everton’s defence, with Mane also cutting back to create a chance for Divock Origi just after the break. With Roberto Firmino and Mane swapping wings and showing the movement that has made Jurgen Klopp’s attack so deadly, it is clear to see why they were so threatening throughout despite the breakthrough not coming until the very end.
He also did his stint defensively, with an impressive five ball recoveries, a 100% success rate with his tackling and remarkably, winning both of his aerial duels despite his diminutive stature. The Senegal star showed his commitment to the cause and proved that he is more than just an attacking player but an all round team player as is known to be so important to Klopp.
Mane made the difference for Liverpool once again on Monday night and will be sorely missed when he does head off to the African Cup of Nations with his country at the end of next month. The Reds have adapted well to life without Philippe Coutinho, but there is another test on the horizon when Mane heads to Africa.
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