Late heartbreak at Anfield - match report and debrief
Liverpool 2-1 Spurs
Wed 16 December 2020, 21:59|Tottenham Hotspur
A battling display went unrewarded at Anfield on Wednesday evening as a 90th-minute goal from Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool a 2-1 win.
Although we were on the back foot for much of the first half, we went in level at the break after Heung-Min Son had cancelled out Mo Salah’s deflected opener and should have added to our tally in the second period as we missed some great chances, only to be punished by Firmino’s dramatic late goal from a corner.
The home side took the lead in the 26th minute courtesy of a huge slice of good fortune. Curtis Jones broke into the area and was tackled by Serge Aurier with the ball squirting out to Salah, his shot taking a big deflection of Toby Alderweireld as it looped up over Hugo Lloris and into the net.
But we were level out of the blue seven minutes later, as Giovani Lo Celso collected the ball from Lloris and burst through midfield before sliding the perfect pass for Son to advance on Alisson and tuck home. The goal was checked for off-side by the Video Assistant Referee, but Son was just on-side and the goal stood.
It was a different tale after the break, especially in the first 20 minutes as we saw much more of the ball and created good chances. Steven Bergwijn had one inside 30 seconds of the restart but prodded wide, Alisson kept out Kane’s attempted lob and Bergwijn was in again on 63 minutes, hitting the far post with just the goalkeeper to beat. Kane then headed a corner down and over the bar from eight yards out.
Back came the Reds though, Salah’s right-foot shot easy for Lloris while Sadio Mane turned Aurier in the area in the 73rd minute and flashed a shot against our crossbar. The game looked to be heading for a draw but just before the clock ticked over to 90, Andy Robertson delivered a corner and Firmino met it with a powerful header into the back of the net to break our hearts and end our 12-game unbeaten run.
Missed chances so costly
It was very much a game of two halves – the first in which we sat back and soaked up pressure, while in the second period we had a real cutting edge and went toe-to-toe with our hosts. And yet it was the first 45 minutes where we scored our goal, getting nothing for our display after the interval.
We started with a 4-4-2 formation and it was Liverpool who dominated possession early on, Lloris saving well from a Firmino header and keeping out shots from Salah, Jones and Mane during the first half. There was an inevitability about their goal when it came via Salah’s shot as they were well on top at the time, but we hit them with a sucker-punch thanks to Son’s magnificent finish.
But then we tweaked things at the start of the second period, switching to a 4-2-3-1 and for a spell, we were the better side. Bergwijn had the best chance, latching onto a double flick on from Harry Kane and then Son to advance on Alisson, who he beat with his curling shot only to see the ball hit the post. Fabinho whacked the rebound away for a corner, from which Kane found himself unmarked but headed the ball down and over the bar.
In such a big game, they were huge opportunities and Liverpool appeared buoyed by our profligacy as they started to gain the upper hand again. But we were resolute defensively as we have been so often this season and it didn’t look like a second goal was coming. Alas, it did.
Son closes in on milestone
Our equaliser was only Son’s second goal in nine appearances against Liverpool but it did move him onto 99 goals in our colours. It was his 11th Premier League goal of this campaign.
As for team news, Jose Mourinho made two changes from the side that drew at Selhurst Park on Sunday with Ben Davies and Giovani Lo Celso coming in for Sergio Reguilon and Tanguy Ndombele.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'I'm disappointed because we deserved much more'
Jose said after the match: "If it was a draw, I wouldn’t be jumping with happiness, because the draw would be the minimum for what we did. To lose it is hard, but we lost. We had chances in the moment they were suffering. Of course, I know it’s a word people love, possession, but for me it’s not (about) possession, it’s what you do when you have the ball, how dangerous you are when you have the ball, and in the second half, we got in the face of the goalkeeper two or three times, and we have to score to win the game, period. There is no story. Score the goal, three points, go home and no more talk. I’m disappointed because we deserved much more, but that’s the way it is."
Liverpool 2-1 Spurs
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, R Williams, Fabinho, Robertson, Jones, Henderson (c), Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane. Substitutes (not used): Kelleher, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Origi, Phillips, N Williams.
Spurs (4-4-2): Lloris (c), Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies, Sissoko, Hojbjerg, Lo Celso (Lucas 58), Bergwijn (Reguilon 76), Son (Dele 87), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Rodon, Ndombele, Winks.
Goals: Spurs – Son 33; Liverpool – Salah 26, Firmino 90.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Lo Celso, Hojbjerg.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool.
Weather: Partly cloudy, moderate breeze, seven degrees.