Liverpool 4 Tottenham 3
After 15 minutes at Anfield Tottenham were reliving a nightmare. By the 93rd they had found redemption and had no need to reimburse fans’ ticket costs for a second Sunday in succession. And by the 94th the nightmare was back, Liverpool clinching a fourth consecutive Premier League win seconds after blowing a three-goal lead.
Spurs’ latest interim manager, Ryan Mason, was at least spared the torment and scrutiny that befell Cristian Stellini after the 6-1 rout at Newcastle, although it looked ominous when Jürgen Klopp’s team raced into a three-goal advantage after 15 minutes.
Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and the former Everton forward Richarlison, with his first league goal for the club, appeared to have conjured a stunning reprieve only for a dreadful error by Lucas Moura to invite Liverpool off the floor.
The Spurs’ substitute played a woeful back-pass straight to Diogo Jota seconds after Richarlison’s equaliser and the Liverpool striker shattered the visitors with a clinical finish past Fraser Forster. From an ordeal to a revival and back again, Spurs’ terrible record at Anfield continues.
Liverpool’s defending also left much to be desired but their quality in attack carried them onwards and upwards into fifth, leapfrogging Spurs in the process. But only just.
It took three minutes for Liverpool to breach Tottenham’s alleged defence and the flashbacks to begin. Cody Gakpo was far too intelligent with his movement and vision for anyone in white to handle and central to all three early goals. For the first, the Netherlands’ international worked his way into space in midfield before finding Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The right back-turned-quarterback floated a pinpoint cross to the back post where Curtis Jones, left completely unmarked by Pedro Porro throughout the move, volleyed home his first Liverpool goal since September 2021.
Porro had tracked Luis Díaz into the penalty area even though the Colombia winger was being marked by Cristian Romero. A brainless defensive start was under way. It was two from Liverpool’s next, piercing attack. Mohamed Salah picked out Gakpo’s smart run with a measured pass behind the toiling Eric Dier and the January recruit swept over a first-time cross from the byline.
Díaz marked his first start since injuring a knee at Arsenal on October 9th with an emphatic volley past Fraser Forster at the near post while leaping to connect.
The tortured travelling support found some solace in gallows humour. “We want our money back,” they sang, before a rendition of “How shit must you be? It’s only 2-0.” That chant was soon rendered obsolete when Romero lunged into a ridiculous challenge on Gakpo just inside the area to concede the most blatant of penalties. The World Cup-winning defender still had the temerity to complain.
Salah had missed his previous two penalties, against Bournemouth and Arsenal, but made no mistake this time, swiping the spot-kick down the middle of Forster’s goal.
On his 300th appearance for Liverpool, the Egypt international moved to joint fifth on the club’s all-time league goalscorers’ list alongside Harry Chambers with 135.
Up in the directors’ box Spurs chairman Daniel Levy could barely look at his team’s latest shambolic collapse. Would he have to dispense with a second interim manager of the week at this rate? There appeared a distinct possibility of further damage as Dier directed a simple pass under zero pressure straight to Andy Robertson and Harry Kane was dispossessed from behind by Salah in the same passage of play.
Still, Spurs got to 21 minutes this week without conceding five. Small acorns and all that. But then, bizarrely, the visitors burst into life and created enough opportunities to have drawn level by half-time with Liverpool easing off. Virgil van Dijk prevented Son Heung-min converting a Kane pass when hacking clear in front of his goalline after the striker had cut inside Ibrahima Konaté and fired low past Alisson.
Seconds later Spurs did score, Kane volleying an Ivan Perisic cross through the legs of the Liverpool goalkeeper after the Croatian wing back had been released down the left by a fine Oliver Skipp pass. Dejan Kulusevski wasted a glorious chance when he robbed Robertson to race through on goal. Kane was unmarked to his left but Kulusevski opted to shoot under pressure and was foiled by the legs of Alisson.
Son struck a post after latching on to Dier’s long ball although was flagged offside.
During the half-time interval a plane circled the stadium dragging a banner that read: “LFC – Sox – Penguins – Same problems FSG Out”. The timing was comical. Mason’s side could easily have clawed back the deficit early in the second half too. Son hit the woodwork for a second time when cutting across Konaté and curling a low shot against the base of Alisson’s left-hand post from 20 yards out.
Romero struck the right-hand post seconds later when throwing himself at Kane’s delicate cross to steer a volley wide of the Liverpool keeper. Alisson then produced a fingertip save to prevent an angled drive from Porro finding the roof of the net.
Just when it seemed Liverpool had quelled the threat and regained control, Spurs struck again. Romero released Son with a beautifully weighted pass over the home defence. The South Korea international put his previous misfortune behind him to beat Alisson with a composed finish into the bottom corner.
Son delivered the deep free-kick that brought the equaliser, Richarlison stealing in behind Darwin Núñez to send a glancing header down and over Alisson. The wild celebrations had only just subsided when Moura turned a long clearance from the Liverpool keeper into the path of Jota, and now it was the home crowd’s turn to erupt.
Klopp sprinted up to the face of the fourth official John Brooks and was rightly booked for his dreadful behaviour. He also appeared to pull a hamstring in the process. The pain, however, belonged entirely to Spurs. – Guardian