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6 talking points as Liverpool beat Tottenham to get title bid back on track

Liverpool put their recent patch of poor form behind them to get their title charge back on track in a convincing win over Tottenham on Thursday.

Chances went begging for both sides early on, but Roberto Firmino eventually gave Liverpool the lead on the stroke of half-time as he tapped in Sadio Mane’s cross.

Straight after the break the Reds doubled their advantage as Trent Alexander-Arnold smashed in a rebound after Hugo Lloris’s save.

Spurs found an immediate response through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who crashed home a 25-yard piledriver to bring his side back in it.

But Liverpool soon restored their advantage when Alexander-Arnold whipped a cross in for Mane to half-volley past Lloris.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) celebrates with Roberto Firmino (L) after scoring

Here are the talking points.

1. Front three fire

Mohamed Salah congratulates Roberto Firmino on his goal
Mohamed Salah congratulates Roberto Firmino on his goal

It took eight long hours of Premier League football, but Liverpool finally got their goal.

And after several matches of sluggish forward play, the Reds’ front three looked close to their dangerous best again.

Mane was a bundle of energy, Firmino was linking play effortlessly and Mohamed Salah was a constant threat.

All three even had the ball in the back of the net at one stage or another, only for Salah’s to be chalked off for a handball.

The trio made Spurs’ defence look vulnerable as they consistently broke the offside trap and raided the space in behind.

Chances were created, opportunities taken, and even Alexander-Arnold got on the scoresheet too.

No doubt a welcome sight to Klopp.

2. Jose changes tack

Jose Mourinho gave his side licence to play with more freedom against Liverpool
Jose Mourinho gave his side licence to play with more freedom against Liverpool

We expected Tottenham to sit back soaking up Liverpool’s pressure before hitting them on the break, but Mourinho clearly fancied his side’s chances.

Instead the hosts started a lot more open, and had no qualms about stretching their resources with intermittent pressing – though somewhat to their detriment.

Tottenham’s decision to stand off Liverpool’s midfielders soon began to cause them problems as the visitors began to get plenty of joy with balls in behind.

The tactics of both teams led to some real end-to-end action in the opening stages and made for a compelling contest.

But Spurs were soon found wanting, as the reigning champions picked holes in their stretched defence, leading Mourinho to perhaps wonder whether he should have opted to park his trusty bus from the outset.

3. Deal with it

Roberto Firmino capitalises on some hesitant Tottenham defending to score
Roberto Firmino capitalises on some hesitant Tottenham defending to score

Liverpool’s opening goal was coming, but Spurs’ defence should have done a lot better to avoid it.

First Joe Rodon and Serge Aurier were beaten by a simple ball over the top, which allowed Mane to break free and square an inviting ball across the face of the six-yard box.

But secondly, neither Eric Dier nor Hugo Lloris reacted to the danger either.

They simply allowed the ball to run between them, both leaving it to the other to deal with in a clear lapse in communication.

Their dallying was Firmino’s gain, as he gladly tapped home an easy finish, leaving Tottenham’s stars to start the inquest.

Hesitation will get you killed.

4. Kane crocked

Harry Kane was forced off with an injury
Harry Kane was forced off with an injury

Arguably the more concerning sight for Spurs’ fans than their team’s defeat was that of Harry Kane hobbling off the field.

Tottenham’s talisman suffered an injury in the first half after an innocuous collision, which then forced him out of the match.

Kane tried his best to continue but struggled to move around the pitch, with Mourinho finally subbing him at half-time.

Spurs did manage to score without Kane’s presence, but they looked a lot less fearsome in attack and soon fizzled out of firepower.

For a player with a history of injury issues, there is bound to be a nervous wait ahead.

5. Trent answers critics

Trent Alexander-Arnold was back on form against Tottenham
Trent Alexander-Arnold was back on form against Tottenham

Alexander-Arnold has faced his fair share of criticism of late, but he provided a superb response.

The Reds full-back was exceptional down the right flank, bombing up and down all evening, and got his just rewards.

He was in the right place at the right time to fire past Lloris to put Liverpool in command.

And when Spurs were within touching distance again, it was Trent’s cross which set up Mane to score the third.

So much of Liverpool’s play is reliant on Alexander-Arnold being on song.

Thankfully for them, it appears he’s back in tune.

6. Reds injury problems continue

Joel Matip was subbed at half-time after Fabinho had already been ruled out
Joel Matip was subbed at half-time after Fabinho had already been ruled out

You really couldn’t make it up.

Just as Joel Matip returns from injury, Fabinho is then ruled out with a minor muscle injury, causing Jordan Henderson to again deputise in defence.

The changes were hardly ideal when you’re up against Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, and Liverpool were fortunate not to be punished.

To make matters worse, Matip then went off at half-time to be replaced by Nat Phillips.

It didn’t stop Liverpool going on to win the game, but it’s now anyone’s guess who will be in defence against West Ham on Sunday.

Anyone got Dejan Lovren’s number?




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