Saturday 11th January 2020

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Spurs 0 Liverool 1

Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 16 points with victory at Spurs on Saturday – and Jurgen Klopp’s side still have a game in hand.

The result sends Liverpool into the record books, also. It’s the best start to top-flight season in Europe’s top five leagues: 21 games, 20 wins and a draw. And while 1-0 scoreline at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was hardly a reflection of Liverpool’s superiority, with the league leader’s content to hold Spurs at arm’s length for most of the match.

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That’s not to say Spurs didn’t have their chances, though. Heung-min Son was guilty of missing a golden opportunity to level the match in the 75th minute, but blazed over the bar after Georginio Wijnaldum was caught in possession. In truth, the majority of Spurs’ sparse openings game from odd lapses in concentration from Liverpool, but when it mattered, their class shone through. And it came with the winner on 37 minutes.

Jordan Henderson won the ball and headed it through to Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian turned Davinson Sanchez in the penalty area and found Roberto Firmino.

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The Brazilian, on the left side of the box and up against 20-year-old Japhet Tanganga – who impressed on what was his Premier League debut – epitomised Liverpool’s class this season. Fimrinho allowed the ball across his body with a twist akin to Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix, before rattling the ball past Paulo Gazzaniga. Just like that, the Premier League leaders, led.

Spurs improved in the second half – notably after Christian Eriksen made way. He was jeered by the home fans as he left, with presumably both parties hoping that will be his final outing for Spurs. The Dane looked disinterested throughout. Giovani Lo Celso, his replacement, provided more threat in 20 minutes he was on than Eriksen achieved in the 70 before, but Spurs couldn’t find a goal their fans wanted. Lo Celso went close at the end, but Liverpool ran out deserved winners.

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Dan Kilpatrick’s final thoughts: “Spurs slip to another narrow defeat to Liverpool but they were unlucky not to get at least a point and there’s plenty to take from the performance, particularly after half-time. For Mourinho, it’s a vindication of his claim that Spurs would improve once he had a free week on the training ground.”

 

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