Mane losing race to be fit for Reds' Bournemouth clash

Everton manager Ronald Koeman (left) and Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp (right) react during a passionate Merseyside derby at Anfield. The hosts won 3-1 but lost key forward Sadio Mane to injury.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman (left) and Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp (right) react during a passionate Merseyside derby at Anfield. The hosts won 3-1 but lost key forward Sadio Mane to injury.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Sadio Mane looks set to miss Liverpool's match against Bournemouth on Wednesday after suffering a knee injury during their 3-1 victory over Everton.

The Senegal forward scored an early goal on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp's side strengthened their hopes of Champions League qualification with a deserved win in the 228th Merseyside derby at Anfield.

He limped off in the second half following a collision with Everton defender Leighton Baines, but did not leave the ground on crutches, giving Liverpool hope he will not be out for long.

"Today nearly everything was perfect, then we lose Sadio Mane," said Liverpool manager Klopp.

"When I saw him in the dressing room, it didn't look as if he would be ready for Wednesday. We will see. We hope it's not that serious, but it does not make our life easier."

The German was diplomatic when asked to comment on some controversial tackling from Everton's Ross Barkley.

The England midfielder, already on a booking, was fortunate to stay on the pitch for a reckless first-half lunge into the shins of Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren.

"It's not my job to say about tackles," he said.

"If I do, I create a story: 'Klopp says...' If you think it was a problem, then speak about it."

He was more happy to discuss the quality of his team's performance.

"It was a deserved victory," he said.

"We controlled the ball after the first few minutes. I told the boys to be really smart and emotional.

"The last 20 minutes were a bit wild. When organisation doesn't work anymore, you have to defend with passion."

His counterpart Ronald Koeman must have been frustrated by Barkley's poor outing at Anfield.

Although the Dutchman complained about the Liverpool bench trying to influence the referee in sending Barkley off for a reckless lunge on Emre Can, he ignored the fact that Barkley had been totally outplayed by his Liverpool counterpart, Philippe Coutinho, who scored one and made another goal.

Said former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness: "I'd be losing my temper with him every five minutes. He passes it when he should run with it, he runs with it when he should pass it.

"He has all the equipment to be a good player, but I see him as a kid in the playground."

Victory provisionally lifted Liverpool to third place, with Everton nine points below them in seventh place.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2017, with the headline 'Mane losing race to be fit for Reds' Bournemouth clash'. Print Edition | Subscribe