Liverpool ended their turbulent season on a positive note, with a comfortable 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, securing third place in the Premier League. Sadio Mané scoring both goals on Sunday afternoon as 10,000 fans returned to Anfield.
In terms of expectation, it was a poor season from Jürgen Klopp’s side but with the context of their extensive injury list across the season – particularly in defensive areas – it became a remarkable achievement for the German to lead this side into the top four. The brace from man-of-the-match Mané was vital in securing this end goal.
Much like the Reds’ season, the Senegal international hasn’t lived up to his standards with the No.10 looking devoid of confidence across parts of this campaign. However, with the return of spectators, the forward looked revitalised and back to his old self with the boost of the crowd noise seemingly giving the player some extra belief in his ability.
For his first goal, the winger showed great reactions to poke the ball past Vincente Guaita. The goal arrived following a corner taken by Andrew Robertson which Rhys Williams initially connected with. The defenders’ header went across the box and bounced off Roberto Firmino where Mané was the first to react to the loose ball. It was a goal at a pivotal moment, with chaos ensuing in the other pivotal games in the Premier League impacting the teams’ European hopes.
The 29-year-old’s second came in the 74th minute, when his strike from just inside the box deflected off Gary Cahill and into the bottom left corner, with the Crystal Palace goalkeeper unable to rework his body away from his initial reaction. This strike effectively killed the contest and put Liverpool in the pot for the Champions League group stage.Embed from Getty Images
Throughout the match, the 29-year-old created three chances which were ranked as the second-highest amongst those on the pitch. He also ended the game with an 80 pc passing accuracy as well as having 71 touches across the 90 minutes.
It has been a hard season for the former Southampton man, with the player himself admitting he doesn’t know what has happened to the form he has shown since arriving back in 2016. There could be a case that the lack of fans has hindered Mané on the pitch and his display against the Eagles could support this. This was one of his better performances during the season with fans cheering on from the stands.
Hopefully, his important strikes against Roy Hodgson’s side can be a boost of confidence for Liverpool’s number 10 next season and he can remain an invaluable asset for this Premier League and Champions League winning side.
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