Derby triumph proves Liverpool can win title, says Mane

21 December 2016 11:51

Sadio Mane believes Liverpool’s last-gasp win over rivals Everton underlines their capability of challenging for the Premier League title.

The Senegal international scored a last-gasp winner to lift Jurgen Klopp’s side back into second in the table, six points behind Chelsea after 17 matches.

Mane does not want to become distracted by hoping that Antonio Conte’s in-form side will suffer a dip, but he is confident Liverpool have shown they are up for the fight.

“I think wins like this show we’ll be there, yes,” he said.

“We are focusing on our team. It was important to get the three points at Everton. It is still early to talk about what is going to happen and we are thinking about ourselves, not Chelsea.

“But one of our ambitions is to go far as possible and we are going to try and do that.

“It was a very important goal and very important to win. The performance of the team was great – it was a different type of win from us and that is good.

“It was a derby and ­everybody knows how these games are, so the most important thing was not how we played, but to have the win. We got it and we are going to keep going now.”

Liverpool are set to be without Mane for a busy period of fixtures in January when he travels to Gabon for the Africa Cup of Nations campaign.

The 24-year-old is scheduled to miss the FA Cup third round against either Plymouth Argyle or Newport County, as well as both legs of the EFL Cup semi-final with Southampton and league games against Manchester United, Swansea City, Chelsea and Hull City, depending on Senegal’s success.

“It will not be easy for me to go with Senegal next month,” Mane admitted. “I would love to carry on playing with my team-mates and help my team, but I think they will understand because it is my country and it is my dream.

“I will be wishing them good luck, but without me the team will be the same. Even better I think. They will cope. [Philippe] Coutinho will come back, [Joel] Matip will come back and [Daniel] Sturridge is back now.”

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