Brave display goes unrewarded at Anfield
Liverpool 2-1 Spurs
Sun 27 October 2019, 18:25|Tottenham Hotspur
Mo Salah's penalty 15 minutes from time saw Liverpool come back from behind to win 2-1 at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
After our bright start in which Harry Kane put us in front after just 47 seconds, the league leaders piled on the pressure but were denied by a string of incredible saves from Paulo Gazzaniga.
Heung-Min Son hit the crossbar from a tight angle in a rare opportunity for us but Jordan Henderson ghosted in to draw his side level seven minutes after the break and after Serge Aurier was adjudged to have fouled Sadio Mane in the box, Salah completed the turnaround. That wasn't game over, though, as we played forward much more positively in the last quarter-of-an-hour and really pressed for an equaliser. Danny Rose blazed our best chance over the bar in the 89th minute while Son and Toby Alderweireld were denied by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson in stoppage time.
Mauricio Pochettino made four changes to the team that beat Crvena zvezda in the Champions League in midweek, with Erik Lamela missing out altogether because of a thigh problem. It was our first meeting with Liverpool since the showpiece final of that competition in June and, much like that game, there was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it opener. This time, though, it went our way. Son, making his 200th appearance for the Club, let fly from 22 yards, his effort deflected onto the post off Dejan Lovren and Kane was alive to the situation, stooping low to nod the rebound into the net inside 47 seconds. The goal drew him level with Martin Chivers in third place on our list of all-time top goalscorers.
Kane was a useful outlet up front but Liverpool soon began to apply heavy pressure and it was thanks to several outstanding saves from Gazzaniga that we stayed ahead. After pouncing low to gather Andy Robertson's ball across the face of goal, the Argentine international made a decent take from Salah's snap-shot from outside the box on 21 minutes, before producing a superb double save from Salah and Roberto Firmino six minutes later. In between those chances, we might have made it 2-0 but Dele Alli couldn't make the most of Kane's pass at the back post before Christian Eriksen drilled through the crowd but wide of the far stick, Kane also trying desperately to turn his body and steer it in on the far side.
Gazzaniga was there again to tip former Southampton team-mate Virgil van Dijk's header over the bar before beating away Trent Alexander-Arnold's rasping drive from distance on the half-hour mark - there was simply no way past our goalkeeper in that first period. Mane then glanced a header wide in a further big chance for the Reds but despite being under the cosh for much of the first 45 minutes, we made it to half-time with the lead intact.
Gazzaniga kept out Firmino's back-post header for Liverpool early in the second period before going route one to Son, who carried the ball around Alisson but saw his rasping angled shot smack off the face of the crossbar in a big opportunity for us. The Reds did finally make a breakthrough on 52 minutes, though. Fabinho clipped in to Firmino, he went to ground under Rose's challenge but that allowed Henderson to sneak in on the blind side and fire back across Gazzaniga into the far corner for 1-1. Georginio Wijnaldum's bullet header was well saved by Gazzaniga but on 75 minutes, the hosts took the lead. Right-back Aurier tangled with Mane in the box and despite seemingly being in control of the situation, was adjudged to have fouled the attacker and Salah buried the resulting penalty.
The waves of Liverpool pressure subsided significantly after that and we found our attacking impetus once more. Tanguy Ndombele was getting on the ball and pushing us forward and it was he who picked out Rose cutting in from the left for a big opportunity a minute from time, only for the full-back to lift his shot high into the stands on his right foot. Son's sweeping shot was well held by Alisson before one final chance came and went in the fourth additional minute. Gazzaniga went up for a corner but Alderweireld got the first contact on the delivery, only for his header to go straight at Alisson.
We did well to resist the onslaught from Jurgen Klopp's men throughout the first half but three minutes after the restart, we saw a big chance to increase our lead go begging. Gazzaniga sent Son racing in behind the home side's defence with a long clearance but Alisson advanced off his line and forced the South Korean international wide. Having finally evaded the keeper, Son still got his shot away from a very narrow angle, only to see it hit the bar. Had that gone in, perhaps the result would have been different.
Manager Mauricio told Spurs TV: "We competed. If you compare the way we fight and compete it’s okay but maybe after scoring so early, we were only focussed on defending and keeping the result. In the second half it was more on the counter-attack when we conceded, they increased their level and (it's) unlucky we didn’t score the second goal and unlucky with the penalty that decided the game for them.
"We defended well, we were very committed and fought to try to stop them but at the end, we missed playing more football and that’s maybe why we feel disappointed. If you are only on the pitch and it’s only about defending, it’s difficult to keep the ball and play. It was always going to be tough but we have to keep pushing and working."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Liverpool 2-1 Spurs
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson (c), Wijnaldum (Milner 77), Mane, Salah (Gomez 85), Firmino (Origi 90+3). Substitutes (not used): Adrian, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga, Aurier (Lucas 83), Sanchez, Alderweireld, Rose, Winks (Ndombele 63), Sissoko, Eriksen (Lo Celso 88), Dele, Son, Kane (c). Substitutes (not used): Austin, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier.
Goals: Liverpool - Henderson 52, Salah 75 (pen); Spurs - Kane 1.
Yellow cards: Liverpool - Lovren 50, Alexander-Arnold 64, Milner 90+1; Spurs - Sissoko 36, Rose 37, Ndombele 72.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool.
Weather: Clear sky, moderate breeze, 10 degrees.