EPL

Mane masterclass piles misery on sorry Silva - The talking points as Liverpool enjoy derby delight

By Sports Desk December 04, 2019

Several quizzical eyebrows are likely to have been lifted in Anfield and its surrounding areas when it was revealed Jurgen Klopp had left both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino out of the starting XI for Wednesday's Merseyside derby.

The fixture congestion Liverpool, runaway leaders in the Premier League title race, are about to face has already been well-documented, but the decision to omit two members of their star-studded forward line for a derby game in which defeat would give hope to the chasing pack appeared a bizarre one on the surface.

Any Liverpool fan concerned by the five changes made to Klopp's XI need not have worried, as the third member of an attacking triumvirate that has tormented the Premier League produced a dazzling display, while the man who settled the last Merseyside derby at Anfield in remarkable circumstances added to his incredible scoring tally in this famous fixture.

Six goals were scored from six shots on target in the first half, with a frantic and thrilling affair offering plenty for the neutral, but precious little for Marco Silva to enjoy, with a 5-2 defeat to Everton's city rivals only likely to further talk he will soon be searching for alternative employment.


BALLON D'OR NOMINEES PRODUCE GOLDEN TOUCH

Virgil van Dijk missed out on winning the Ballon d'Or on Monday, as Lionel Messi took home the award for the sixth time. He was not he only Liverpool player some felt was snubbed, however, with Sadio Mane seen as unfortunate to finish fourth in the voting.

While Van Dijk enjoyed a relatively quiet evening, Mane - who came into the fixture with eight league goals - produced the kind of performance that will keep him firmly in the running for world football's top individual prizes.

His throughball for Divock Origi to open the scoring was unbelievably well-weighted, while his reverse pass to tee up Xherdan Shaqiri for Liverpool's second was simply sublime. After failing to register a single assist in his last 40 appearances at Anfield, Mane delivered two in the first half.

The move that led to Shaqiri's goal was started by an exquisite cross-field pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold - 19th in the Ballon d'Or voting - and it was the right-back who teed up Mane to make it 4-2 after popping up on the left wing in a glorious encapsulation of the freedom with which Klopp's side play.

Mane missed two gilt-edged chances to double his tally late on but, of Liverpool's seven Ballon d'Or nominees, it was he and Alexander-Arnold who shone brightest as the Reds set a club-record by going 32 league games unbeaten.


FIVE-STAR ORIGI

Origi was something of an outcast when he capitalised on Jordan Pickford's howler in the corresponding fixture last season.

Since then he has scored crucial goals in the semi-final and the final of the Champions League and he took his tally in the derby to five in fine fashion.

While there was obvious fortune about his winner last term, there was nothing lucky about either of his efforts time around, with the control he displayed to collect Dejan Lovren's long pass and lob Jordan Pickford to make it 3-1 particularly worthy of praise.

Only Steven Gerrard (9) and Robbie Fowler (6) have scored more Premier League goals in the Merseyside derby. Exalted company few would have expected him to keep 12 months ago.


LIVERPOOL'S CLEAN SHEET CONCERN

One of the most bemusing statistics of this season is that Everton have kept more clean sheets (3) than Liverpool (2).

Klopp will not have been satisfied with Liverpool's defensive showing, with their problems defending set-pieces laid bare once again.

Everton should have scored more and, when the effects of a packed schedule and the Club World Cup take hold, it is fair to wonder whether better sides such as second-placed Leicester City - who they face in their first game back from Qatar on December 26 - may capitalise more ruthlessly on any defensive lapses.

SO LONG SILVA?

In their 1-0 defeat in the previous campaign, Everton were well-organised and determined, and only a freak slice of misfortune denied them a point.

Silva's men displayed no such qualities on Wednesday. Liverpool were imperious going forward, but the ease with which Everton were cut open time and again was alarming.

Everton have not been relegated since 1951 but another chastening loss to their neighbours saw them drop into the bottom three.

Their Portuguese boss cut a forlorn figure on the sideline as he watched his side humiliated in arguably the headline game of a set of fixtures broadcast via an on-demand streaming platform. After their latest derby demolition, Everton fans are likely to be demanding change.

Related items

  • Nagelsmann avoids Champions League title talk, plays down Simeone spat Nagelsmann avoids Champions League title talk, plays down Simeone spat

    RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann dismissed talk about winning the Champions League title after his side upstaged Atletico Madrid to reach the semi-finals.

    Tyler Adams' deflected strike with two minutes of regulation remaining saw Leipzig top Atletico 2-1 in Lisbon on Thursday.

    Dani Olmo's 50th-minute opener was cancelled out by Atletico star Joao Felix's penalty with 19 minutes remaining, but Adams' 88th-minute effort proved the last word as Leipzig reached the last four of the competition for the first time.

    Leipzig will face Ligue 1 powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain in Tuesday's semi after becoming the first German club outside of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund to make it to the semi-finals since Schalke in 2010-11.

    Speaking post-match, Nagelsmann told reporters: "I'm not going to say anything about the title. But of course, we do want to reach the final now.

    "That's just normal, I think. If we get there, we can speak about other things."

    "The team as a whole beat Tottenham [in the last 16] before and now Atletico," said Nagelsmann. "It's not about duels between coaches – not against [Jose] Mourinho, not against [Diego] Simeone and now not against [PSG coach Thomas] Tuchel either. It is a team game and the guys did brilliantly today."

    Nagelsmann also revealed he had a half-time spat with Diego Simeone, though the 33-year-old German played down the incident as he hailed the Atletico boss.

    "Simeone congratulated me afterwards, it was very sincere. He said, it was a great game and a deserved wind for us," added Nagelsmann.

    "At half-time we had a little spat, but that wasn't very serious. He's just an incredible winner who even wants to win on the way to the dressing room.

    "But that's not bad, I actually want to point out that I think he's personality as a coach is awesome. So, everything's fine."

  • You couldn't write a better story – Poulsen delighted with RB Leipzig rise You couldn't write a better story – Poulsen delighted with RB Leipzig rise

    Yussuf Poulsen revelled in an "amazing moment" after RB Leipzig moved into the Champions League semi-finals.

    Tyler Adams' deflected 88th-minute strike lifted Leipzig to a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

    A penalty from Joao Felix had earlier cancelled out Dani Olmo's opener in Lisbon, but Leipzig – founded just 11 years ago – advanced.

    Poulsen, who arrived at the club in 2013, was delighted as Leipzig's rise continued, having been in the fifth tier in Germany in 2009-10.

    "You couldn't write a better story. It is a huge day and an amazing moment – we have to enjoy it," he said, via the club's website.

    "Another fantastic game is around the corner. We were the better team and are deservedly through to the semi-final."

    Adams found the winner in the 88th minute thanks to a huge deflection after a cutback from Angelino.

    Poulsen praised Leipzig for their response to Joao Felix's 71st-minute equaliser for Atletico.

    "All the players brought their best game, and we did a lot of things perfectly," he said.

    "Joao Felix is a brilliant player, but after his goal we kept our composure, and created more chances for ourselves."

    RB Leipzig will face Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

  • Simeone: Congratulations to Leipzig, Atletico went out fairly Simeone: Congratulations to Leipzig, Atletico went out fairly

    Diego Simeone had no complaints about the manner of Atletico Madrid's Champions League exit, insisting his team gave their all but RB Leipzig deserved victory.

    Leipzig stunned Atletico with a 2-1 triumph in Lisbon on Thursday as Tyler Adams hit a late, deflected winner.

    Joao Felix had earlier cancelled out Dani Olmo's opener from the penalty spot, but Atletico struggled to break down the Bundesliga side and were carved open too often going the other way.

    Simeone simply offered his congratulations to Leipzig as they advanced to set up a semi-final meeting with Paris Saint-Germain.

    "We gave it everything we had," he told Movistar. "It was difficult for us to win the duels and they were faster.

    "It has been a long year, with those 60 days off. Then there was pressure coming back to the Champions League. We had one week off then back to training.

    "We haven't been able to play the way we wanted. I liked Leipzig. They had great determination, enthusiasm and freshness. That cost us. There are no excuses.

    "We gave our best and made it to the quarter-finals. We are going out fairly and we have to congratulate our opponents."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.