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Liverpool vs Tottenham: a Premier League classic at Anfield

A game of two halves it has to be said, with Liverpool the better side in the first and Tottenham in the second. A fast paced start saw a back pass from Sanchez intercepted by Salah and the Liverpool player slotted cooly past Hugo Lloris in the third minute to put the home side ahead.

From there, Liverpool didn’t let up. It was clear they wanted a second and Spurs looked stunned. Liverpool created multiple chances, the three man midfield of Can, Henderson and Milner all putting a shift in and retrieving the ball back when Spurs finally had it. Trent’s delivery throughout the first half was something to behold but unfortunately Liverpool failed to make Spurs pay for their poor performance.

Van Dijk batted away mostly everything first half and showed exactly how good he is in the air with multiple blocked shots and interventions.

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A great first half for Liverpool, the score at half time didn’t reflect the true performance but Spurs had to do something different at half time.

As mentioned, the second half was completely different! Spurs came out and controlled the game from minute one. Karius was called into action a couple of times with a one vs one saved and some crosses caught. He looked to be having a solid game for Liverpool.

Liverpool were sitting back with Spurs controlling most of the play, the home side set up to counter attack with Salah remaining high on the wing which left space down the Spurs’ left hand side which they took advantage of multiple times. It was Alli who was the enabler, receiving the call into feet on the half turn and pressing the ball wide right or left to start the Spurs’ attacks.

A couple of early substitutions from Klopp as he seemed to realise the home side were wilting, they needed fresh legs and a creative spark. The Ox and Wijnaldum replaced Mane and Henderson.

Pochettino returned with his ideas and replaced Dembele, one of the best performers on the day, with Wanyama.

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With over ten to play, the question being asked was simply, will Liverpool hold on?

Not if Wanyama had something to say about it. Introduced into the game on the 79th minute and by the 80th he’d struck possibly goal of the season. Eriksen with a cross which was parried away, only for Wanyama to control and hit an exceptional strike from range which bent it’s way inside the post, right into the top corner.

What followed was total madness and quite easily the best and most entertaining period of a Premier League game so far.

Ball played through to Kane who was standing in an offside position but Lovren failed to clear, touching it on the way through. Kane seemed to be brushed by Karius and went down asking for a penalty. Moss (referee) called for a penalty but was urged into a conversation with Smart (the linesman). After a conversation, which was heard word for word by one of the TV microphones, and no VAR to call on, Moss deemed his decision to be a penalty! Kane with his chance to hit his 100th Premier League goal, DENIED! Kane went for the middle and Karius did incredibly well to not move from his spot. The Liverpool goal keeper clearly had a feeling and had planned to to stay central!

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After all of this, all the Spurs’ relentless pressure and Liverpool sitting back, the reds finally went up the other end on the 91st minute and snatched the lead. Through pure determination from Salah, a Messi-like run and a deft finish over Lloris, Salah seemed to have done the impossible. In the move itself, Salah even stopped to appeal for a penalty and still managed to control the ball, beat 2 defenders and slot home! He sent the Liverpool fans into raptures… but it was short lived!

We were into 4 minutes of added time and Spurs were lumping crosses into the box, hoping for a bit of quality and a bit of luck. Liverpool mostly dealt with them but one poor clearance had the ball dropping vertically into the box, Van Dijk with his full concentration on the ball went to clear it but Lamela jumped between player and ball. Van Dijk looked to try and pull out of it but unfortunately it was too late, he’d already made contact. Moss surprisingly waved this away but it was Smart, the linesman, who had to get his attention to give the penalty. Kane with a second chance from the spot and he duly delivered, getting his 100th Premier League goal at the second time of trying!

A game which had everything but ultimately 2 teams who couldn’t get the better result and it ended 2-2 at Anfield.

THE WINNER…

Man Utd, Arsenal and Football itself! An entertaining second half and incredible last 10 minutes of football. Wanyama’s exceptional goal which was simply unstoppable, Kane penalty decision and the miss itself, Salah’s run and finish and finally the late equaliser, another refereeing decision and Kane’s bottle with another chance from the spot! It had it all!

Man Utd beating Huddersfield extendstheir second spot lead and Arsenal’s thrashing of Everton ensures they pick up points towards fourth spot also.

THE GOOD…

2 words, Mo Salah! Took both of his goals well but the second was a Messi-like run and finish. Both goals showing gut-wrenching determination, the first chasing the back pass and creating his own opportunity and the second, he had looked to be going nowhere, appealing for a handball and all of a sudden he was in on goal and had beaten 2 Spurs’ defenders!

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Another 2 words, Victor Wanyama! Absolutely ruthless effort to bring his side level having only been on the pitch for a minute or so, literally redefining the word “super-sub”.

Klopp is learning! High tempo first half and a rigid and gritty second half. I’ve always said Klopp is not the best tactician but he showed much more finesse with his actions today. Even the substitutions were made earlier than normal when the team needed it. Something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

THE BAD…

Couple of things to note in this category! Liverpool’s defending went from solid to calamitous in the final 10 minutes. The cross which was punched, rather than caught, by Karius gave Wanyama his chance to score goal of the season which he took superbly. 2 defensive errors led to 2 penalty decisions also which never helps.

Speaking of penalties, Kane’s first attempt from the spot was poor although, you could say Karius had sussed him out and stayed central. On another day, the keeper dives one way or the other and it’s a goal so well done Karius!

Both sides will feel like they have dropped points with Spurs looking to take the lead and missing their chance and Liverpool physically taking the lead and being pegged back, however; I’d expect both sides would have happily taken a draw prematch so should be counting their chickens with this one!

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Also worth noting, 29 matches in a row where spurs haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home against a top 6 side. Make of that what you will!

Liverpool with 12 points dropped from winning positions this season, something which needs looking at if they are to ever win the Premier League again!

THE PLAYER RATINGS…

Liverpool:

Karius – 7.5

Trent – 7.5

Lovren – 6.5

Van Dijk – 7.0

Robertson – 7.0

Henderson – 7.0

Can – 6.5

Milner – 6.5

Mane – 6.5

Salah – 8.0

Firimino – 6.0

Ox – 4.0

Wijnaldum – 5.0

Matip – 5.0

Tottenham:

Lloris – 6.0

Trippier – 6.5

Sanchez – 5.0

Vertonthen – 6.0

Davies – 7.0

Dembele – 7.5

Dier – 7.0

Eriksen – 6.5

Alli – 7.0

Son – 6.0

Kane – 6.0

Wanyama – 7.5

Lamela – 5.5

Llorente – 4.5

NEXT UP…

Liverpool take on Southampton at St Mary’s in the league, whereas Spurs have a home tie against Newport in the FA Cup before welcoming Arsenal to Wembley in the league.

Written by George Pavlou.

George (Goliath Tipping)

George, 27, love betting on sports and writing about my beloved LFC!

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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Liverpool 29 27 1 1 82
2 Manchester City 28 18 3 7 57
3 Leicester City 29 16 5 8 53
4 Chelsea 29 14 6 9 48
5 Manchester United 29 12 9 8 45
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 29 10 13 6 43
7 Sheffield United 28 11 10 7 43
8 Tottenham Hotspur 29 11 8 10 41
9 Arsenal 28 9 13 6 40
10 Burnley 29 11 6 12 39
11 Crystal Palace 29 10 9 10 39
12 Everton 29 10 7 12 37
13 Newcastle United 29 9 8 12 35
14 Southampton 29 10 4 15 34
15 Brighton & Hov… 29 6 11 12 29
16 West Ham United 29 7 6 16 27
17 Watford 29 6 9 14 27
18 AFC Bournemouth 29 7 6 16 27
19 Aston Villa 28 7 4 17 25
20 Norwich City 29 5 6 18 21

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