Tottenham Hotspur 0 Liverpool 1
Liverpool’s relentless pursuit of their first Premier League title, and a first title in 30 years appears to be a foregone conclusion. As absurd as that may seem – we are only in January after all – the reality of a sixteen point cushion with a game in hand over their nearest rival Leicester City looks ominous for the rest of the Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur became the latest to witness the potency of the Reds who had Robert Firmino to thank for the only goal of the game after 37 minutes. The Brazil striker needed the merest of side steps to see off the attentions of Spurs 20 year-old debutant defender Japhet Tanganga before striking past Paulo Gazzaniga for a well taken goal.
Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool’s winner against Spurs on 37 minutes
Without their talismanic striker Harry Kane, who could be side-lined until April with a hamstring injury, Spurs who are now winless in five matches without Kane, struggled to gain momentum in the opening 45 minutes. Danny Rose started for the first time since the Liverpool game at Anfield in October, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started for the first time since December in place on the injured James Milner
Spurs came at Liverpool and had chances when they forced Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez to lose possession, but Heung-Min Son and the industrious Lucas Moura were unable to trouble Alisson’s goal.
The visitors stepped up their game through their fearsome trio Firmino, and his strike partners Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. They were well served from the defensive surges of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson while Georginio Wijnaldum’s midfield tussles with Moura ended just about even. When you have Virgil van Dijk alongside Gomez, not much tends to go wrong for the Reds, such is the duos reading of the game.
Liverpool looked composed and soon got into their rhythm. Oxlade-Chamberlain found Firmino, who steadied himself past Christian Eriksen to shoot, only to see his goal bound effort blocked by Tanganga. The rebound came back to Firmino who fed Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the former Arsenal man’s shot came back off the post and gathered by Paulo Gazzaniga.
Son was denied by Liverpool’s solid defence
Spurs hit back when Toby Alderweireld sprayed a long pass out to Dele Alli. His control saw him go beyond the Reds back line, but he couldn’t find the target, hitting high over Alisson’s bar
van Dijk’s header was saved point blank by Gazzaniga after Spurs didn’t clear from Robertson’s corner as Liverpool’s threat grew. Mane’s downwards shot bounced high over the bar, but from their next move, Liverpool took the lead.
Serge Aurier was furious with the decision at a throw in award to Liverpool, and replays suggested that he and Spurs were hard done by as the ball went out off Mane. Alderweireld didn’t clear the danger and Jordan Henderson fed Salah. The Egypt forward found Firmino on the left and he thundered in from eight yards out for the opener. It was Liverpool’s 50th goal of the season and they become the first club in Europe to reach that landmark tally.
Spurs emerged for the second half in determined mood and almost saw Alli go clear, that was until van Dijk produced a goal saving tackle. The ball however fell to Christian Eriksen who slipped in Aurier, but his effort went straight at Alisson.
Aurier and Eriksen combined again on the right for Son, to shoot but the South Korean’s effort was deflected wide. Liverpool responded when Mane saw a header saved low down by Gazzaniga as the game now saw both sides on the attack.
Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp following Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Spurs
Back came Spurs. Substitute Giovani Lo Celso dispossessed Wijnaldum high up in Liverpool’s half to release Moura. He found Son in space on the left but somehow Son struck over Gazzaniga’s bar under pressure from the back tracking Alexander-Arnold. Eight minutes from time and Spurs should have been level.
Son fed Aurier on the right and his cross found Lo Celso who stretched to beat Alisson back across his goal, but unbelievingly to Jose Mourinho and the majority inside the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, the far post too.
Liverpool’s substitute Divock Origi danced his way through the Spurs defence but couldn’t beat Gazzaniga, while with almost the last effort of the game, Son hit his effort too close to Alisson who smothered the ball. The Reds held on for their fourth win in London from their last four visits. The last time they achieved that was in 1989, the year they were last crowned English champions.