Sunday 31st March 2019

Liverpool 2 Spurs 1

Liverpool’s title hopes were kept alive in dramatic fashion as a last minute own goal from Toby Alderweireld secured a vital win over Spurs.

The Reds looked to be heading for two dropped points after Lucas Moura’s second half strike cancelled out Roberto Firmino’s opener, but Spurs ‘keeper Hugo Lloris parried Mo Salah’s last-gasp header in off his own defender’s legs to gift Jurgen Klopp’s side a 2-1 win and send them back to the top of the Premier League.

liverpool-tottenham-310319mScreenshot 2019-03-31 21.11.24

Klopp had Trent Alexander-Arnold fit to start, despite his withdrawal from the England squad during the international break, and returned to his trusted big-game trio of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum in midfield, leaving Fabinho on the bench.

With Harry Winks and Eric Dier out injured, Mauricio Pochettino had no such luxury, naming a makeshift midfield, with attack-minded pair Moussa Sissoko and Christian Eriksen asked to sit at its base.

It was a first-half that could be neatly divided into thirds. The opening quarter of an hour saw Spurs settle the better, moving the ball around nicely, but when Andy Robertson bent a sensational cross into Firmino, the Brazilian nodded home to give the home side the lead and settle the Anfield nerves.

For the spell that followed, Liverpool were irresistible. Robertson and Alexander-Arnold enjoyed the freedom of the flanks, with Spurs’ wing backs pinned inside by the mere threat of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.

y55liverpool-tottenham-310319za

It was Mane who came closest to doubling the advantage, and indeed thought he had, wheeling away in celebration, only to see his curler fly just the wrong side of the upright.

Eventually Pochettino, watching from the stands as his touchline ban continues, got the message through to change the system, dropping Lucas Moura into a midfield four to try and contain the galloping Reds fullbacks, and at last it gave Spurs a foothold.

Indeed, had they not been a little wasteful in midfield, and had a couple of uncharacteristic Alisson errors not passed without punishment, they may even have gone in at the break with an ill-deserved leveller.

As it was, Spurs used the interval for some more tactical tinkering, pushing Danny Rose higher up the flank and shifting to a back four, with Jan Vertonghen on the left, in a bid to halt Alexander-Arnold’s bombing raids.

It was Rose’s attempted cross that fell kindly for Harry Kane to force Alisson into his first real save of note, and when he could only parry into the path of Eriksen and equaliser looked inevitable until Robertson arrived right on time with a heroic block.

As the hour mark approached, the game opened up. Salah squandered a decent opening after a vintage Liverpool break, but at the other end they never quite looked like a side that had only conceded 18 goals all season.

It was no surprise then, when number 19 arrived. Kane started it with a smart piece of thinking, fizzing a quickly-taken free-kick out to Trippier, and when the England man’s cross was miscued by Eriksen, it found its way through to Lucas to slam home.

Klopp responded immediately by throwing on Divock Origi and Fabinho for Milner and Henderson in a move that was all twist and no stick.

liverpool-tottenham-310319xliverpool-tottenham-310319zm

Origi, rather surprisingly on free-kick duty, almost found a way through when his strike clipped the wall to wrong-foot Lloris, but drifted agonisingly wide of a vacated corner.

Spurs had chances of their own to win it, most notably when Sissoko and Son found themselves two-on-one with Virgil Van Dijk, but the Dutchman positioned himself superbly to force Sissoko into a weak-foot strike over the bar.

But in the end it would be a moment of remarkable good fortune that sealed all three points as the unfortunate Alderweireld watched the ball trickle over his own line.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: