The last time these two teams faced off, Jose Mourinho claimed, “the best team lost” after a 90th-minute header by Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino gave the Reds the victory. This time around, the same cannot be said.
In their 19th Premier League match of the season, Tottenham Hotspur were outmatched by the champions and lost decisively 3-1. Liverpool, who hadn’t scored a Premier League goal in over 400 minutes of play, were able to capitalize on critical mistakes by Spurs’ backline.
The result is massive for both sides: Liverpool have a renewed belief in their chances of repeating at Premier League champions, and Spurs’ hopes of capturing that elusive title now seems far-fetched.
The intensity was high, the pace was blistering, and the skill was sublime right from the start. Indeed, Spurs’ Heung-Min Son believed he had scored the opener after just three minutes of play. However, it was narrowly called back by VAR for offsides.
Despite the disappointment, Spurs kept their composure and exchanged blows with Liverpool. Yet right as the first half was approaching its conclusion, a mental lapse by Serge Aurier opened up a free run for Sadio Mane, and poor communication between Eric Dier and Hugo Lloris allowed Firmino to tap in the opening goal. An absolute backbreaker for Spurs, who overall played pretty well in the first 45 minutes of action.
As the second half got underway, it was clear Firmino’s goal had rattled Spurs. Within two minutes, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold netted another goal after a horrible stretch of play by the home side. It appeared the game was slipping away, but a piece of absolute brilliance from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg saw Spurs cut their deficit to 2-1 in the 49th minute. The Danish midfielder has arguably been Spurs’ MVP this season, and his goal injected life into the beleaguered hosts.
Despite the renewed belief, it wasn’t meant to be for Spurs as Mane put Liverpool out of reach in the 65th minute. The finish was spectacular, but Joe Rodon had a chance to clear the ball and failed to do so. It was a disappointing moment for the young Welsh defenseman, who had played well up to that point. From there, the game was a mere formality and Liverpool shut the door for the three points.
Tottenham Hotspur aren’t going anywhere in the Premier League until they can shake their miserable stretch of play against Liverpool. In their last 19 contests head-to-head, Spurs have one win, four draws, and a ghastly 14 losses.
Moreover, Liverpool have handed Spurs seven straight defeats, which includes the 2019 Champions League Final. No time to rest for Spurs, who will travel to Brighton for another Premier League contest this Sunday.
A few more notes:
- Spurs striker Harry Kane was substituted at halftime after receiving a couple of knocks early in the contest. It appeared as if both ankles were causing him discomfort. For Spurs’ sake, hopefully the talismanic Englishman isn’t out for this upcoming stretch: they will play five critical games in the next two weeks.
- Several Spurs players will want to forget about this match, but in particular Matt Doherty and Steven Bergwijn really struggled at times. Both were far too careless with the ball and couldn’t get into a rhythm. Ideally, it’s just a one-off and they can rebound in short order.