Liverpool 2-0 Spurs
Report from Anfield
Sat 11 February 2017, 19:42|Tottenham Hotspur
A deadly double from Sadio Mane inside three first-half minutes consigned us to our third Premier League defeat of the season at Liverpool on Saturday.
The rapid Senegalese forward capitalised on a lively start by his team and was twice denied an early hat-trick by Hugo Lloris as we pressed the self-destruct button in the first quarter of the game.
Heung-Min Son's shot was saved one-on-one by Simon Mignolet shortly afterwards in what turned out to be our best chance of the match as the home side constantly got bodies around the ball while we were in possession and ensured Harry Kane's 150th appearance in our colours was a fruitless one.
The England striker did hit the post early in the second half but was flagged off-side.
We tightened up after the interval and didn't look as susceptible to Liverpool's sharp attacks but with no real goalscoring opportunities for either side, the hosts had the points – and their first league victory of 2017 – in the bag.
With defenders Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose plus longer-term absentee Erik Lamela still sidelined, Mauricio Pochettino named an unchanged side from that which beat Middlesbrough 1-0 at White Hart Lane last weekend. It meant Son brought up his half-century of Premier League appearances while Kane hit the 150-game mark in all competitions for us.
Goal: Liverpool 1-0 Spurs - Sadio Mane - 16mins
Liverpool made a forceful start and after our centre-back duo of Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld made crucial blocks from Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho following a counter-attack, Georginio Wijnaldum capitalised on some loose play in midfield to send Mane racing in between left-back Ben Davies and Dier to clip beyond Lloris.
Goal: Liverpool 2-0 Spurs - Sadio Mane - 18mins
Two minutes after the hosts made the breakthrough, they had another. Mane caught Dier in possession and sparked another blistering attack from which Adam Lallana and Firmino were both denied by heroic Lloris saves, only for Mane to apply the finish to the latter rebound from the left side of the area.
Above: Eric Dier brings the ball out from the back.
Saves: both keepers make important stops - 22-26mins
Mane was rampant and was denied a treble inside 22 minutes when Lloris saved one-on-one with the inside of his leg at the expense of a corner. A minute later the forward launched one from the right-hand corner of the box which coaxed another save from the Frenchman but on 26 minutes it was Liverpool stopper Simon Mignolet who kept his side 2-0 ahead. Davies played Son in behind the defence, he picked his spot but saw his drive blocked by the Belgian international, one-on-one.
Second half: quiet in terms of chances - 56-74mins
Liverpool didn't threaten as much in the second period and we saw a lot of the ball in the midfield areas, without being able to pick our way through. Kane steered Christian Eriksen's in-swinging free-kick against the post with his outstretched leg but the off-side flag was raised early, while Coutinho ran at our defence but dragged wide for the Reds with 16 minutes remaining.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“We were poor. I need to be honest, like always. They were better. In the first half, we didn’t find a way and we showed a lack of aggression too. It’s important to realise when you compete for big things, you need to start the game not in the way we started today. We were sloppy without aggression, a little bit ‘let’s go to the pitch and play football’ but that’s not our game, it’s about competing and we didn’t compete enough against Liverpool. They were better than us and deserved the three points.”
Hugo Lloris said
“It’s a big disappointment because we expected more today but Liverpool were much better, especially in the first half. We had a lack of aggression and struggled to put intensity into our performance. It was the opposite for Liverpool, they played high-intensity in the first half and we lost a lot of balls in the middle of the pitch. We lost the battle in the middle of the pitch and that's difficult against a top team like Liverpool.”
Liverpool (4-3-3): Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lucas (Klavan 82), Milner; Henderson (c), Wijnaldum, Lallana; Mane (Alexander-Arnold 90+2), Coutinho (Can 77), Firmino. Substitutes (not used): Karius, Moreno, Origi, Sturridge.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c); Walker, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies; Wanyama, Dembele (Sissoko 77); Son (Janssen 82), Eriksen (Winks 68), Dele; Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Nkoudou.
Goals: Liverpool - Mane 16, 18.
Yellow cards: Liverpool - Henderson 53, Matip 56, Milner 68; Spurs - Son 28, Kane 67, Winks 71, Dier 78, Alderweireld 83.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
We re-focus on knockout football now with the first leg of our UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie against Gent coming up in Belgium on Thursday (February 16). In between our two clashes with them, we face a trip to Championship side Fulham in the fifth round of the FA Cup next weekend, with our next Premier League fixture not until the visit of Stoke City to White Hart Lane on Sunday, February 26.