The first Merseyside Derby of the 2020-21 season, a 2-2 draw in October at Goodison Park, left wounds on this Liverpool squad that still haven’t healed. The two dropped points hurt, but a significant injury inflicted on Thiago Alcântara and a season-ending knee injury to Virgil van Dijk were much more damaging to the Reds’ title defense.
“This game was not the best memory from the beginning of the season, but in football you have to expect everything because everything can happen,” said Mané. “One of the best defenders in the world got injured and Thiago, in his first start for us, got injured for a while.”
The injuries weren’t the only unfortunate incidents in October’s Merseyside Derby. A late Liverpool winner from captain Jordan Henderson was ruled out after VAR review determined Mané was offside by the slimmest of margins in the build-up to the goal.
It’s the kind of setback that can be very difficult for a team to move on from, especially when coupled with the injuries to two key players. However, letting go of past disappointments and looking ahead to the upcoming test is necessary, and Mané seems to have the right mentality heading into the Anfield rematch against Everton.
“The tight offside disallowed goal; it was complicated but it is the past,” said the Senegalese forward. “We will see what is going to happen and do everything possible to win the game.”
Asked if he expected Saturday’s match to be another physical contest with the Toffees, Mané admitted that he did, but he also made sure to stress that every match played in the Premier League is a battle that requires every ounce of effort and fight available.
“For sure, but in the Premier League it’s not just Everton, it’s every single game. It has to be. If you want to beat a team, you have to win all of it. Everything in a game. All your challenges, all your battles. Everything if you want to win the game.”