Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham: Sadio Mane double sees off Spurs
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 13/02/17 8:03pm
Two goals in three first-half minutes from Sadio Mane saw Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Anfield and move back into the top four of the Premier League.
The Reds led 2-0 at the break after Mane struck twice in the space of just 138 seconds, the Senegal international's 10th and 11th goals of the season.
Those quick-fire efforts were enough to hand Liverpool their first league win of 2017 and jump above both Manchester clubs into fourth in the table.
Meanwhile, Tottenham remain nine points behind leaders Chelsea, albeit having played a game more than their London rivals, who host Burnley on Sunday.
Liverpool made just one change from last weekend's 2-0 loss at Hull City, with Georginio Wijnaldum replacing Emre Can in midfield, meaning centre-back Dejan Lovren had failed to recover in time from a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Spurs were unchanged from last Saturday's 1-0 win over Middlesbrough, with left-back Danny Rose and centre-back Jan Vertonghen both still missing with knee and ankle problems respectively.
Despite having not won in the league all year long, though, the Reds made a fast start to proceedings at Anfield, looking confident in possession and spraying the ball around at ease.
So much so that it came as no surprise when Liverpool opened the scoring after 16 minutes, with the home side winning the ball back near the centre circle, before Mane was sent clean through on goal by Wijnaldum's wonderful defence-splitting through ball.
And with just Hugo Lloris to beat, Mane kept his cool before thrashing the ball high into the roof of the net.
The visitors were off the pace in the first half, as shown when Eric Dier was caught napping on the ball by Mane in the lead-up to Liverpool's second goal two minutes later, before the Senegalese found Adam Lallana just inside the box.
The England international then stung the palms of Lloris with a well-struck drive, but the goalkeeper could not hold on to the ball, which dropped invitingly for Roberto Firminio, waiting six yards from goal.
However, despite the forward's close-range effort being blocked, that man Mane was in the right place at the right time to double the Reds' lead, and in truth Jurgen Klopp's side could have been out of sight by the break.
Mane, who was everywhere, was twice denied by good saves from the increasingly busy Lloris, while the closest Spurs came to scoring was when Ben Davies slipped Heung-Min Son through on goal midway through the half, only for Simon Mignolet to stand tall and make a key block.
Unusually for a team going for the title and looking to put pressure on the leaders Chelsea, Spurs were off colour in the first period, second to every challenge and seemingly out of ideas.
However, it was much the same after the interval, despite manager Mauricio Pochettino ringing the changes in search of a formula, and goal, to get the visitors back into the contest.
The closet they came, though, was when the unusually quiet Harry Kane kit the post from a Christian Eriksen free kick, but the striker was in an offside position in any case.
As a result, Spurs' 11-game unbeaten run, and most likely their faint title hopes, are now over.
Liverpool: Mignolet (7), Clyne (7), Matip (7), Lucas (7), Milner (7), Lallana (7), Henderson (8), Wijnaldum (7), Mane (9), Firmino (8), Coutinho (6)
Used subs: Klavan (6), Can (6), Alexander-Arnold (6)
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Walker (6), Dier (6), Alderweireld (7), Davies (5), Dembele (6), Wanyama (7), Eriksen (5), Alli (6), Son (6), Kane (6)
Used subs: Janssen (6), Sissoko (6), Winks (6)
Man of the Match: Sadio Mane