Last night, Sadio Mané competed in his first Merseyside Derby. Regardless of how many he participates in, it's difficult to imagine he'll have a more memorable Derby than last night. Deep into stoppage time and with Liverpool's chances dwindling, Mané was the quickest to react to Daniel Sturridge's shot as it came off the woodwork. The Senegalese international buried the sitter--and with it, Everton--to instantly write his name into the history books in this great rivalry.
Mané, however, was humble after the big moment, attributing luck as the most important part of the result.
"I was a little bit lucky but I wish to always be lucky and score goals for the team!" Mané said to the club's official website. "I'm thankful and very happy to score the winning goal for the team.
"It wasn't an easy game but I think we deserved to win because we created a lot of chances and we got the goal.
"We were [facing] a very good team and we had to keep going to the end. But that's what we did and got the win."
Whether it was lucky or not, it was a big moment for a team, particularly one that has struggled to win scrappy, low-scoring matches. Cognizant of that fact, Mané was also quick to point out the work by Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan on the other end of the pitch, whose contributions to a rare clean sheet allowed for the late breakthrough for the Reds.
"[Lovren and Klavan] did a great job today because Lukaku is one of the best in this league.
"The performance of the team was good today. It was important to get a clean sheet. It's [always] important to score and not concede and that's what we did in the last two games."
Thanks to an all-around solid team performance and Mané's late-game heroics, Liverpool players will certainly enjoy their Christmas party much more than they did after last year's 3-0 defeat to Watford. The fact they could do it by beating their city rivals and re-claiming second place will make the holiday celebrations all the sweeter.
Liverpool now face a tough holiday run with three matches in 7 days, including a big New Year's Eve showdown with Manchester City.