Liverpool went 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League on Saturday evening as they beat Norwich City 1-0 at Carrow Road.
Norwich had a golden chance to take the lead, when Lukas Rupp was one-on-one with Alisson. The German tried to unselfishly set up Teemu Pukki for an open goal, but Alisson got a vital hand to the ball to claw it away, sparing Liverpool's blushes with an some excellent goalkeeping.
Liverpool increased the tempo in the second half, peppering the hosts' goal with shots. Tim Krul pulled off three decent saves within the space of a few minutes, tipping Naby Keita's shot over the bar before getting down well to pull off a double save from Mohamed Salah and the Guinean.
With 77 minutes on the clock, Liverpool finally broke down a resilient Norwich side and scored. Jordan Henderson's long ball was brought down nicely by Sadio Mane, who turned and thumped it into the bottom corner to send the Liverpool fans into pandemonium.
The Reds held on to secure the three points as their incredible season rolls on.
Key Talking Point
With one win in their last 12 league games, it was a big ask for Norwich to take anything off the league leaders. Yet the Canaries were solid in the opening 45 minutes, containing Liverpool while showing positive signs in attack to hold them off going into the break.
The visitors became more and more frustrated in the second half, but Norwich were resilient. They were firm and organised at the back, and with Dutch international Tim Krul in goal it looked as if Liverpool were never going to score in an excellent defensive display.
Mane's winner finally broke Norwich hearts, but they should take pride in their performance. They kept the league leaders out for three-quarters of the game and while they will feel hard done, they can leave with the knowledge that they certainly can play and put in a battling display.
Starting XI: Krul (8*); Aarons (6), Zimmermann (6), Hanley (6), Byram (N/A); Tettey (6), McLean (6); Rupp (6), Duda (6), Cantwell (7); Pukki (6).
Substitutes: Lewis (6), Buendia (N/A), Drmic (N/A).
STAR MAN - TIM KRUL
Norwich produced a noteworthy defensive performance despite defeat, and Tim Krul was the heart and soul of that. Save after save from the Dutch goalkeeper proved his worth in goal, making several fantastic and crucial saves in a display worthy of credit.
Key Talking Point
Liverpool had the chance to go a colossal 25 points clear at the top, but they struggled to hit their stride at Carrow Road. The first half saw a measly one effort on goal, and they didn't seem to be at their best as they missed chance after chance against a stubborn Norwich defence.
The Reds piled on the pressure after the break, but for their dozen shots on goal nothing was going their way. Sadio Mane's introduction off the bench was the game-changing moment, and with his goal Liverpool battled out a massive victory in their pursuit of the Premier League.
It wasn't pretty, but Liverpool did what they came out to do and earned a 16th straight league win. Jurgen Klopp's side have taken one huge step closer to securing the title, and with the trophy in sight Liverpool's 30-year wait is starting to reach its anticipated climax.
Starting XI: Alisson (7); Alexander-Arnold (6), Gomez (6), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (6); Keita (6), Henderson (7), Wijnaldum (6); Salah (6), Firmino (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6).
Substitutes: Fabinho (6), Mane (7*), Milner (N/A).
STAR MAN - SADIO MANE
Sadio Mane came off the bench and did exactly what he needed to do, in a match-winning performance. He needed just 17 minutes after coming on to strike for the Reds, and it was his goal and his contribution that made the difference at Carrow Road.
Norwich travel to high-flying Wolves next Sunday, as they continue their fight for Premier League survival. The Canaries are back at Carrow Road five days later, when Leicester City travel to Norfolk on 28 February.
Liverpool continue their Champions League defence next Tuesday, returning to the Wanda Metropolitano eight months on from their final victory to face Atletico Madrid. The Reds return to league action on 24 February, hosting West Ham at Anfield.
Source : 90min