Tottenham 1-3 Liverpool
The feature match of the midweek card was the one that many teams and fans alike had their eyes on as two perennial title contenders took the stage at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with the reigning champions Liverpool taking all three points home with them to Anfield in their bid to become back-to-back Premier League champions since the 1980’s. With this being the only match played overnight and given the weight of the two clubs we’re gonna have a bit of a deep dive into the game than we usually would. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Before the match, it has been no secret that both squads involved have been going through somewhat of an injury crunch. For Tottenham, being without players like Giovani Lo Celso and Dele Ali somewhat dampens the midfield opportunities that Spurs can build from while an unknown muscular injury to Spanish defender Sergio Reguilon will keep the defence stretched. For Liverpool, the core defensive group have all seemingly been sacrificed to the injury god in return for their overwhelming title success last season. Virgil van Dijk is still yet to fully recover from his horrific ACL tear, Joe Gomez is out for an extended time with a knee injury and Joel Matip is currently being assessed for an ankle ligament injury. To make matters worse for Klopp, Brazilian defensive mainstay Fabinho was ruled out of this clash overnight with an undisclosed muscle problem.
So, this sets up an even more intriguing affair. With how potent Tottenham’s attack pairing of the dynamic Son Heung-min and England’s very own Harry Kane and Liverpool’s defence being shorter staffed in the middle of the park, at least, many thought that the partnership would just be too much to handle for the Reds. We were almost proved right, as well, as Son had the ball in the back of the net in the fourth minute after a great short passing move with Kane. The goal was taken to VAR official Jonathan Moss and Son was ruled offside in the leadup to the goal after having received a pass from Steven Bergwijn. A reprieve but a stern warning for the visitors.
Liverpool had the lead as the half time whistle blew through Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino. A long lofted cross up the pitch from captain and makeshift centre back Jordan Henderson to Sadio Mane who played a bouncing ball across to the oncoming Firmino for a tap in and the lead, much to the delight of Jurgen Klopp on the touchline and the chagrin of opposing manager Jose Mourinho. Mourinho’s woes were added to during the half as his captain Harry Kane had to leave the pitch during the half time break with what was revealed after the match by Mourinho to be a double ankle injury after riding challenges from Thiago and Jordan Henderson respectively during the half.
Spurs, then, had it all to do in the second half but it certainly didn’t go the way Mourinho had hoped to script it in his half time team talk. A great turn from Sadio Mane had himself set for a shot that was destined for Lloris’ bottom corner. The French international goalkeeper saved the shot well to the left but was straight into the patch of Trent Alexander-Arnold who hit his shot sweetly to put Liverpool ahead by two. The home side did strike straight back through a thunderous shot by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and, with hope slightly renewed, the game was opened for Tottenham to come back.
The reigning champions, who have moved up to fourth place now with a visit to in form and fifth place West Ham on Sunday, would not go down and had a goal courtesy of Mohamed Salah in the 56th minute until it was ruled out by VAR again due to a handball in the build up by goalscorer Firmino. They would score a goal that counted and have their third, though, through Sadio Mane who hit Trent Alexander-Arnold’s fantastic cross into the roof of Hugo Lloris’ net and seal the deal for Liverpool.