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Sadio Mane's 100th English Goal Helps Liverpool Past Norwich to Stay Unbeaten

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2020

NORWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Sadio Mane of Liverpool scores his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool FC at Carrow Road on February 15, 2020 in Norwich, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Liverpool continued their march to an unbeaten Premier League campaign on Saturday, beating last-placed Norwich City 1-0 at Carrow Road after Sadio Mane came off the bench to score the winner with just 12 minutes remaining.

The Reds struggled with the tricky weather conditions from Storm Dennis in the first half but improved after the break, and Mane's 100th goal in English football was enough to secure the three points.

The Reds were massive favourites coming into the contest, given the enormous gap between the two teams in the standings:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

55 - Bottom placed Norwich are 55 points behind leaders Liverpool. This is the 13th different Premier League match in which a side has been 55+ points behind their own opponents, and the first to have taken place as early as February. Gap. #NORLIV https://t.co/jrV6OgjMrX

The Canaries more than held their own in the first half, however, limiting Liverpool to a single shot on target―an easy save for Tim Krul―and working the best chance for themselves. Lukas Rupp tried to square the ball to Teemu Pukki after a pass over the top, but goalkeeper Alisson Becker denied him.

Per OptaJoe's Duncan Alexander, he's having a remarkable campaign:

Duncan Alexander @oilysailor

Alisson has still let in fewer PL goals than Claudio Bravo this season

The only negative of the first half for the Canaries was an injury to full-back Sam Byram, who walked off with what appeared to be a hamstring issue. 

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Goal @goal

Norwich. Liverpool. 0-0 at half-time. https://t.co/U5I6TbvwQ1

Liverpool's poor play continued initially after the break, and the Canaries started taking a few more risks. Todd Cantwell fired a shot into the side netting and perhaps could have done better, while Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk put Krul to work with half chances.

Krul then had to flash his talent to deny Salah and Keita shortly after, however. Per Paul Gorst of the Liverpool Echo, the latter should have scored:

Paul Gorst @ptgorst

Brilliant double save from Krul to deny Salah a moment of genius and Keita a tap-in. Midfielder has to score there though, no question.

Manager Jurgen Klopp had seen enough after an hour of play, introducing Mane to shake things up. 

The Reds started to find a rhythm after he came on, with chances falling to Salah and Andy Robertson. Krul then did well to beat Mane to the ball, and Alexander Tettey nearly shocked the visitors when he struck the post from a tight angle, with just about everyone expecting a cross. 

The breakthrough for the Reds came after 78 minutes, though, with Mane taking a ball from Henderson and firing it home. VAR had a look at the goal for a possible shove, but it ruled in favour of the visitors. 

Melissa Reddy @MelissaReddy_

Sadio Mane, off the bench, shows all the intention, and is on the scoresheet. Superb touch, spin and finish off Jordan Henderson's ball.

Roberto Firmino missed a great chance to double the lead, and Pukki came closest to tying things up for the Canaries but he fired a shot straight at Alisson.

       

What's Next?

The Reds will travel to face Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. Norwich visit Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Sunday.

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