Liverpool draw ever closer to capturing the Premier League title after a goal from the returning Sadio Mane secured a 1-0 win over a Norwich.
The Reds were given a big boost ahead of their first match since the winter break with both Sadio Mane and James Milner being deemed fit enough for a place on the bench. Naby Keita was named in midfield in place of Brazilian Fabinho in the only change to the side that beat Southampton two weeks prior.
Embed from Getty Images
(ABOVE: Keita looked to impress back in the starting lineup)
There was a lot of talk about the fixture being postponed due to the severe weather conditions. With the game going ahead, Storm Dennis definitely played its part in a closely fought contest.
Both sides struggled to get to grips with the weather in the first half. An Alexander-Arnold cross taken by the wind was cleared by Zimmerman clumsily against Keita who was unable to capitalise as he nudged the ball into the hands of Tim Krul.
The big chance of the half fell to Daniel Farkas’ side. Alisson produced a sublime scrambling save to deny Teemu Pukki from a tap in after great work from Norwich new boy Lukas Rupp to beat the Liverpool offside trap.
After the break, Klopp’s team seemed to go up a gear.
Keita produced a smart save from the Canaries keeper with a powerful drive from outside area just before the hour mark, after good work from Mo Salah.
Liverpool’s no. 8 was in the thick of it again shortly afterwards and should have opened the scoring. Krul came up with a miraculous double save to deny first Salah and then Keita from the rebound.
It just wasn’t the Guinean’s day in front of goal.
(ABOVE: Tim Krul was in fine form to stop Keita at point blank range)
The Red’s boss introduced Sadio Mane after an hour alongside James Milner from the bench as the away side pushed for the opener at Carrow Road.
The Senegalese made an instant impact, injecting some much-needed urgency into the Liverpool attack, and was rewarded for his hard work and energy.
Jordan Henderson clipped the ball forward from deep towards the forward. Mane piroetted brilliantly, shrugging off the challenge of two Norwich defenders to control the ball out the sky, before finishing on the half volley past Krul.
Norwich appealed for a foul on Zimmerman after what appeared to be a hand in the back from the Liverpool forward, but VAR deemed the decision by referee, Stuart Atwell, not to be a clear and obvious error.
(ABOVE: Back with a bang! Mane volleys home brilliantly on his return to action)
The goal was the 2019 African Player of the Year’s 100th in the Premier League, and his 12th of the season.
The win leaves Liverpool 5 wins away from securing their first league title in 30 years and increases the gap to Manchester City in second to 25 points.
The win also takes Liverpool above Nottingham Forest in the list of longest unbeaten streaks in English league history, with the Reds now on 43. Klopp’s side now only sit behind Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ side who recorded 49 consecutive games without defeat.
Can Liverpool break that record? Comment your thoughts below or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.