sport news Liverpool 5-2 Everton: Sadio Mane steals the show with a goal and two assists

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With 10 minutes remaining, Sadio Mane was through one on one. Twice, in fact. He missed both. Had he scored, it would have been a flawless performance, one that reflects the number on his shirt: 10. Still 9.5 is close enough. If there has been a better individual display this season, it has passed most observers by. Certainly this one.

Mane took Everton apart in a win that maintained a comfortable eight point cushion for Liverpool at the top of the league, despite Leicester's best efforts. The 11 points they have on Manchester City will be regarded as more significant by some but, either way, Liverpool remain the team to beat, the team against which all others will be judged this season.

Jurgen Klopp made changes, but Liverpool barely skipped a beat. Yes, they conceded, but then they invariably do, so no change there. In all other aspects, however, this was an exceptional display, one that may be too much for Everton manager Marco Silva, who saw his team slip into the bottom three. Liverpool, though, are flying. There is no stronger squad in the country right now. No group more expertly assembled.

Liverpool's title credentials were once again underlined with a dominant performance to win the Merseyside derby at Anfield

Liverpool's title credentials were once again underlined with a dominant performance to win the Merseyside derby at Anfield

Divock Origi, brought in for Roberto Firmino, got his - and Liverpool's - first goal by rounding goalkeeper Jordan Pickford

Divock Origi, brought in for Roberto Firmino, got his - and Liverpool's - first goal by rounding goalkeeper Jordan Pickford

Xherdan Shaqiri, starting ahead of Mo Salah, added a second after s well-worked team goal started by in-form Sadio Mane

Xherdan Shaqiri, starting ahead of Mo Salah, added a second after s well-worked team goal started by in-form Sadio Mane

The Swiss international made a brilliant run to deceive the Everton defence and he slotted home on his left foot for 2-0

The Swiss international made a brilliant run to deceive the Everton defence and he slotted home on his left foot for 2-0

Everton's high line caused all sorts of problems and Origi was later mobbed by supporters after he added a stunning third

Everton's high line caused all sorts of problems and Origi was later mobbed by supporters after he added a stunning third

Mane was the man of the match for the hosts and he got a well-deserved goal to cap off a brilliant performance at Anfield

The defeat ramps up pressure on Everton boss Marco Silva and he could find himself axed before their upcoming fixtures

The defeat ramps up pressure on Everton boss Marco Silva and he could find himself axed before their upcoming fixtures

Liverpool's schedule in December is punishing, but this was a display that suggested they can handle it. Jurgen Klopp left men out, big men, key men, yet still received a performance indicative of champions. 

The replacements did not merely step up, they hit levels that were an improvement on what has been delivered recently by the first choices. Divock Origi prolific and exceptional as he so often is against Everton; Xherdan Shaqiri quickly on the scoresheet, nimble and intelligent. 

And then there was Mane the only regular starter selected in Klopp's forward line. What an amazing game he had. It was as if he saw the team sheet, no Roberto Firmino, no Mohamed Salah and thought: here we go, I'll show you who can play. And he did. 

Origi showed the merit in his selection as he played on the shoulder of his marker to use his pace in behind the defenders

Origi showed the merit in his selection as he played on the shoulder of his marker to use his pace in behind the defenders

Everton's players were visibly frustrated as they began the night starting in the relegation zone due to Southampton's win

Everton's players were visibly frustrated as they began the night starting in the relegation zone due to Southampton's win

Origi's goals settled Liverpool down despite a brief threat from Everton from set pieces as they looked to take the game direct

Origi's goals settled Liverpool down despite a brief threat from Everton from set pieces as they looked to take the game direct

Defender Michael Keane (left) was on hand to clip the ball over goalkeeper Adrian to make it 2-1 but hope soon petered out

Defender Michael Keane (left) was on hand to clip the ball over goalkeeper Adrian to make it 2-1 but hope soon petered out

This was arguably the individual performance of the season, almost certainly featuring the pass of the season, and quite probably the runner-up, too. Mane was devastating, and Everton had no answer to him.  He set up the first two goals, and scored a fourth – and all before half-time. 

Klopp will be angry at the two Everton scored in the same period, but they flattered Silva's team given Liverpool's domination. 

Everton kept in touch because Liverpool's defence is curiously fragile for a club so dominant in the league. They made mistakes that gave the scoreline a sense of parity. In reality, Liverpool were a different class. Mane destroyed Everton close to single-handedly, and Origi was his perfect foil.

Super sub, even super understudy, does not do Origi sufficient credit. He has a habit of deciding huge matches, of scoring on the biggest occasions – and there is nothing he relishes more than a derby. Scoring his second of the night, he had more goals against Everton than Mane, Firmino and Salah put together. 

Yet as fine as Origi's finishing was, this was never less than Mane's show. His assist for the first goal was so good it was

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