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Sadio Mane double sees Liverpool past Tottenham Hotspur

Sadio Mane scored twice against Tottenham as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool recorded their first Premier League victory of 2017.

The result, courtesy of two strikes in as many minutes from Mane, lifted the Reds back into the top four and to within a point of their second-placed opponents.

But it also handed leaders Chelsea, who travel to Burnley on Sunday, the chance to extend their advantage over Spurs to 12 points.

Sadio Mane led the attack as Liverpool secured three points. Peter Byrne/PA Wire

That is of little concern for Liverpool, whose primary objective is to secure Champions League football — and condemning Mauricio Pochettino’s men to a first loss for two months did that bid no harm.

The hosts’ start was electric and full of pressing and pace — most of it provided by Mane, whose month-long absence at the African Nations Cup was a major factor in Liverpool’s recent slump in form.

There was only one change from last week’s abject display at Hull but it was a significant one, with Georginio Wijnaldum replacing Emre Can.

The Holland international’s inclusion was a key component as his intelligence, coupled with an outlet in Mane, had Spurs pinned back early on.

Had it not been for goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, Liverpool could have emulated the 2014 demolition of Arsenal, when they were 4-0 up within 20 minutes.

As it was, the 2-0 lead after 18 minutes came after Eric Dier, who spent the evening chasing shadows, had already denied Roberto Firmino and Toby Alderweireld had blocked Adam Lallana’s follow-up.

The opener came as Firmino’s layoff to Wijnaldum allowed the Dutchman to play a perfectly weighted through-ball to pick out Mane’s run, and the Senegal international confidently clipped a finish past Lloris.

Liverpool’s high-intensity game paid off again when Mane pressured Dier into a mistake and, after Lallana’s shot was parried and Firmino’s effort blocked, the ball fell kindly for Mane to volley home.

The winger was denied a hat trick when his shot was diverted into the side-netting by the legs of Lloris, who then palmed Mane’s shot from the resulting corner around the post.

Son Heung-Min had a chance to get his side back into the game but Simon Mignolet, at fault for Hull’s first goal last weekend, saved with his legs.

The chance failed to stop the red tide as Dier cut out Mane’s effort and Lloris held Philippe Coutinho’s shot, while Christian Eriksen’s free-kick hit the top of the Liverpool net.

While the pace continued after the break, the game became tetchy as Tottenham attempted to knock their opponents out of their stride and the niggly foul count went up considerably, with Harry Kane booked for coming down late on Nathaniel Clyne’s foot.

Still Liverpool had chances as Joel Matip headed at Lloris and Coutinho dragged a strike wide.

Tottenham, who have not won at Anfield since 2011 and have taken just 10 points from the last possible 69 at the ground, did not record a legitimate shot in anger in the second half, with Kane flagged offside as he fired against the post.

Credit:@ESPNFC

 

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