Sadio Mane’s copycat antics, Man City motivation and other Liverpool moments missed against Brighton – Liverpool Echo

Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League stands at a healthy-looking 11 points after yet another 2-1 win, this time against Brighton.

Two goals from Virgil van Dijk were enough for the Reds, despite Lewis Dunk pulling one back from a quickly-taken free-kick after Alisson Becker had been sent off for a deliberate handball outside the area.

The 10 men held on, however, to go 11 clear after Manchester City had dropped points earlier in the day at Newcastle. Chelsea’s defeat at home to West Ham leaves them 14 behind in fourth.

As usual, there were several subplots that you may not have spotted first-time around.

Copycat Mane

Throughout much of the past three years, Sadio Mane had made mimicking Roberto Firmino celebrations his Anfield calling card.

From the machine-gun funk to the king-fu kicking, Mane has never been shy in copying his team-mate’s more eccentric post-goal displays.

“The fans deserve to know the truth,” he told Copa90 earlier this year. “Firmino copies me, not me copying him!

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“The kick was me. We try it in training. He scored and I was behind him, and he did it. The dance with Philippe (Coutinho) and Bobby was mine too!”

Try as he might, Mane is fooling no-one. Once more, he was at it as the Reds players celebrated Van Dijk’s second against the Seagulls.

Following on from Firmino’s flying kick, Mane tried his own version, much to the delight of eagle-eyed Reds fans.

Well, they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Kop get the message

A general view of The Kop during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield on November 30 (Image: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

For the first six minutes at Anfield, the game was simply an afterthought.

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and the rest were all running about, aiming to break down their visitors, but the focus was elsewhere.

The Kop, clearly listening to a social media plea after Thursday’s Hillsborough verdict, showed their solidarity to the families of the 96 supporters who went to a football match in 1989 and never came home.

For an unyielding six minutes, Reds supporters chanted for accountability. Accountability for 96 of their own men, women and children, who visited a stadium three decades ago and lost their lives.

For an unrelenting 360 seconds, Liverpool supporters sang for justice. Justice for the 96. Only when the six minutes were up did a ripple of applause and a chant for their football team break out.

The message was clear, the fight continues and they will back it every step of the way.

Anfield still checking

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One of the day’s biggest cheers came just under an hour before kick-off, for a goal scored 170 miles away.

Jonjo Shelvey had just pegged Manchester City back at St James’ Park as Newcastle grabbed their second equaliser of the day.

The half-full Anfield cheered heartily as the news filtered through. More followed when the full-time whistle was sounded on Tyenside, signalling more dropped points for their closest rivals.

It left Liverpool with the clear objective; win and an 11-point gap will be opened up. Ample motivation, pre-match.

It was also crystal clear from a supporter perspective too, that while Liverpool need only to focus on themselves at this stage, Reds followers are still keeping more than one eye on the flailing competition.