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English Premier League: Mane scores late to lift Reds into second place


12-20-2016 12:57 BJT

Liverpool hosted Everton for the 227th edition of the Merseyside derby, a contest that the visitors have only won once in the last 20 meetings.

A victory here for Juergen Klopp's Reds would see the hosts close the gap on leaders Chelsea and rise to second place in the table, but the cautious game would turn into a defensive stalemate that required a late strike from Sadio Mane to settle.

Not so much quality action in the first half as both teams combine for seven shots with none on target.

But things pick up after the break and four minutes in, Roberto Firmino has a great chance in close, but Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg manages to block the Brazillian lob attempt and the resulting rebound would eventually be cleared away..

Just seven minutes later Firmino makes a delightful backheel pass to Mane but he's beaten to the ball by Leighton Baines. But in doing so, the defender crashed into Stekelenburg and the keeper would end up hobbling off the pitch.

Then Ross Barkley gets his studs into Jordan Henderson's right ankle and that sparks some pushing and shoving plus a few choice words that's more in keeping with the spirit of the derby. Vicious challenge.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Daniel Sturridge dribbles a shot off the post and Mane is there for the bounce. That would be the only goal as Liverpoll win 1-0 while Everton are now winless in 12 straight matches versus the Reds.

"Very important, even in a game like this, when it's that wild how it was in the first half, it's very important that you don't give a chance away and we didn't give chances away that they had, I cannot really remember. So we didn't have a lot but we had our moments and second half we had more, much better, could have scored earlier," said Juergen Klopp, Liverpool manager.

"And then Daniel (Sturridge) came, hit the post and Sadio (Mane) finished the situation. So it was great, intense, how a derby should be, not the best football in the world, of course not. But you cannot ignore the intensity, you cannot ignore the importance of a game like this, you have to take it like it is. The second half, we took it like it should be."

Mane's late goal lifted Liverpool to second, six points behind leaders Chelsea. Manchester City are third, two points ahead of Arsenal who are now nine points off the pace after their 2-1 defeat at the Etihad on Sunday.

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