Premier League: Mane rescues Liverpool from Norwich stitches, nets 100th goal in England




Mane

Liverpool’s unstoppable charge towards their first top-flight title in 30 years is “outstanding”, says Jurgen Klopp after his side edged a narrow victory over bottom-of-the-table Norwich.

Sadio Mane came off the bench to score the winner with 12 minutes remaining, expertly taking down skipper Jordan Henderson’s raking pass and smashing in at the near post.

It means Klopp’s men need just five more wins from their remaining 12 games to guarantee their first Premier League title, having dropped just two points all campaign, and lie a mammoth 25 points clear of champions Manchester City.

“The gap is so insane, I don’t really understand it,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “I am not smart enough. I have not had that before. It is outstanding, so difficult.

“I go back into the changing room and we chat about the things and then I am like ‘Oh, but congratulations. We won the game, another three points.'”

Chances were at a premium in a blustery first half, but Liverpool ramped up the pressure in the second period – Canaries goalkeeper Tim Krul making a stunning double save to deny Mohamed Salah’s low shot and Naby Keita’s close-range follow-up.

Having been pegged back for a long period, Norwich could have scored on the counter-attack as Alex Tettey’s strike from an angle caught Alisson by surprise at his near post but the effort rattled the foot of the upright.

But Senegal international Mane – who missed the last two games through a hamstring injury – proved to be the difference having entered the action on the hour mark.

It looked for a while that it may be a frustrating day for Liverpool at Carrow Road, misplacing a number of passes in the final third and being restricted to long-range efforts.

Keita’s drive was tipped over the crossbar by Krul, while efforts from Virgil van Dijk and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were comfortable for the Dutch goalkeeper to deal with.

When the marauding Trent Alexander-Arnold dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box after just 13 seconds, a routine win looked to be on the cards, but the Reds had to battle hard once more.

Klopp added: “I could tell in all the players’ faces that they weren’t nervous, they were enjoying it, and if one team was going to score it was going to be us.

“We protected against the counter-attack well too. It’s really all about these wonderful football players.”

The result also means 76 points after 26 games is the best record at this juncture in the history of Europe’s top five leagues – something even the continent’s great sides including La Liga’s Barcelona, Juventus of Serie A, Bundesliga’s Bayern Munich and Ligue 1’s Paris St-Germain were unable to achieve.

The defending European champions go into Tuesday’s last-16 first-leg tie at Atletico Madrid in flawless form and Klopp’s side will take some stopping from reaching their third consecutive final, as they aim for a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble.

Matched content



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*