Liverpool brought their spell of poor form and results to an end with a 3-1 win against fellow top-four rivals Spurs.
The Reds came into the game on the back of a miserable run of form, without a win in their last five Premier League outings, and without a goal in their last four.
It was, however, a frantic start to the game as Sadio Mane spurned an early opportunity to take the lead for his side as he shanked a left-footed effort wide in the opening minutes. The Senegal international was almost immediately made to pay for his miss as Harry Kane slid the ball into his forward partner Son Heung Min who slipped the ball confidently past Alisson, only to see the goal chalked off for offside in the buildup.
It was Liverpool who looked more comfortable on the ball and looked to play through Spurs, who in turn were happy to sit back and looked to utilise the pace of Son in behind Joel Matip.
Mane did force a couple of good saves out of Lloris in the first half, but the Champions finally took the lead with virtually the last kick of the half. The Reds took advantage of a rare bit of space in behind Spurs, Sadio Mane running beyond the host’s defence, before squaring it to Roberto Firmino who had the simplest of tap-ins.
Jose Mourinho was forced to replace Harry Kane at the interval after struggling with what looked like another injury to his left ankle, and the second half couldn’t have started any worse for the North London side – Liverpool doubling their lead inside two minutes of the restart as Hugo Lloris palmed Mane’s shot into the path of Trent Alexander-Arnold, the full firing back across the French international ’keeper and into the bottom corner.
Spurs responded quickly though and instantly reduced the deficit back to one, Pierre Emile Hojbjerg cutting across ball and smashing and absolute thunderbolt beyond Alisson from 20 yards for his first goal for the club since his summer move from Southampton.
🎯 Sadio Mane has scored his first PL away goal at Tottenham, with his 19th attempt in 6 visits. It’s only the second game (out of 14 home & away in all competitions) in which he’s scored against Spurs #TOTLIV pic.twitter.com/CnnQqzGTNh
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) January 28, 2021
Liverpool were the greater threat though and would have a goal of their own disallowed as Mohamed Salah had smashed the ball past Lloris on 56 minutes, only for VAR to spot a handball by Firmino earlier in the passage of play.
However, 10 minutes later the Reds had their third that their attacking play deserved, Joe Rodon failing to deal with Alexander-Arnold’s raking cross, with Mane finally getting his goal as he thumped the ball past Lloris with his left.
Speaking afterwards, Jurgen Klopp was delighted with his side’s performance, suggesting his side rediscovered some of the identity that had been missing from their recent poor run of form.
“I am delighted – it was a great game,” he told BT Sport. “Super intensity as we predicted. We scored the goals in the right moments, the right people scored the goals, so all good apart from their goal.
“What I saw today it’s not about shape or form it’s about who we are. That was us. Second half especially it was us, it was a massive fight. I don’t remember that Spurs had a lot of the ball but we defended it very well. A good performance and I saw a lot of things I wanted to see.
“You cannot really be sure that you will score goals like this in the second half because they made two changes but offensively we coped well with their formation. We played in between the lines and were so often around the box, the counter press was really good, we were high enough defensively but not crazy high.”
The result moves Liverpool back into the top four ahead of high-flying West Ham, the two sides set to meet each other at the London Stadium at the weekend.
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