Mateo Kovacic and Sadio Mane square up after Chelsea ace booted ball at Liverpool star’s HEAD while he lay on ground

MATEO KOVACIC and Sadio Mane squared up towards the end of Chelsea's win at Liverpool, after the Croatian booted the ball at the winger.

The Blues were in the latter stages of seeing out their 1-0 win when the flashpoint occurred.

Antonio Rudiger pushed the Senegalese winger to the turf, only for Kovacic to then compound his misery further – by whacking the ball at him from close range.

Mane, 28, understandably took issue – springing up to confront the burly Chelsea midfielder.

But after things calmed down, Kovacic and Co were able to see out their narrow victory courtesy of Mason Mount's 42nd minute strike.

The result sees Thomas Tuchel's men leapfrog Everton into the top four, while leaving Liverpool four points behind in seventh.

Following the win, Tuchel hailed his 'courageous' side.

He told Sky Sports: "We played with courage, had excellent moments with the ball, had moments we needed to suffer, never lost the attitude and desire and a deserved win and big performance.

"It was a very good team performance. They ask you a lot of questions and we need to have the answers.

"Everyone was very brave and everyone was sharp. It is a six-point game because the others lose. The race is on, there are still 11 games to go. We go step by step. We can never rest and never celebrate, there is no time."


Match-winner Mount added: "Where the season is at the moment it is very tight in the top four, we are in and around and we want to keep pushing.

"We have been on a good run recently, we have been keeping clean sheets but not scoring enough. It was very good to score tonight.

"The game plan was to press them high and not let them have the ball. We had to be brave and try and win the ball up high. Most of the time they defend high and that is where the goal came from.

"Massive win. Every game now is a big win, we need to get as many three points as we can. We have the team to do it, we want to keep going.

"I just try to give my best performance wise if I am starting or coming off the bench. I feel like everyone has been really together. I am obviously happy, I am happy to get a goal today. I want to score more."

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