Liverpool beat Norwich City 1-0 away at Carrow Road last time out, which means the Reds are now five games from being confirmed Premier League champions. A goal off the bench from Sadio Mané secured the three points for the Merseyside club.
It was a tough game for Jürgen Klopp’s team as they struggled to test Dutchman Tim Krul for large periods. It was the home side who would have the first big chance but Alisson Becker managed to claw away Lukas Rupp’s pass to Teemu Pukki when, perhaps, the German should have shot himself.
Liverpool had failed to score after 60 minutes, which prompted Klopp into a double change. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gini Wijnaldum would make way for the reinforcements.
Fortunately, the Reds had the returning Sadio Mané on the bench who replaced the Englishman while Fabinho came on for the Dutch midfielder. The Senegelese had been out due to an injury sustained against Wolves at the end of January and his presence on the pitch was noted instantly.
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Liverpool looked more dangerous and more fluid in the attack, and the decision to introduce was fully vindicated as his goal in the 78th minute won the game for his side.
Jordan Henderson spotted the run of the No.10 and with a long pass forward he managed to find him. The left-sided forward took a fantastic touch with his right to open up an angle at the near post. The substitute took his shot on his weaker left foot and managed to beat Norwich ‘keeper Krul.
The Reds’ joy was momentarily muted by the dreaded sign of a VAR check — officials in Stockley Park were examining the footage to see if Mané had pushed Christoph Zimmermann in the build-up, but the goal was allowed to stand after replays showed minimal contact.
The former Southampton man’s goal was his 100th in the Premier League and his 75th in a Liverpool jersey.
Mané has only missed two league games with his injury and showed that his brief layoff hasn’t affected his goal-scoring form. He has been one of the world champions’ most creative and dangerous players throughout the season and at Norwich City he picked up where he had left off.
Sadio Mané and Liverpool return to Champions League action on Tuesday night as they go back to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium to face Atlético de Madrid in the Round of 16.