Spoils shared in Liverpool thriller - match report and reaction
Spurs 2-2 Liverpool
Sun 19 December 2021, 18:27|Tottenham Hotspur
A breathless and dramatic game ended all square as we shared the points with Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday – and could have taken all three had we been more clinical in front of goal.
In what was our first game for two weeks following postponements due to the weather and, more recently, COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the Premier League, we went toe-to-toe with the Reds and produced a performance full of character and commitment.
After a bright start from the visitors – which included two scoring chances in the opening minute – we settled into the game and took the lead in the 13th minute when Tanguy Ndombele slid a delightful ball through for Harry Kane and he beat Alisson with an angled drive. We really should have gone further ahead following a couple of counter-attacks, Heung-Min Son pushing the ball wide on the stretch before Dele Alli’s effort was touched wide by Alisson, before Liverpool levelled on 35 minutes, Diogo Jota heading home Andy Robertson’s cross.
It was real end-to-end stuff with chances for both teams, but it was the visitors who went ahead on 69 minutes. We had penalty claims waved away after Dele went down under the challenge of Trent Alexander-Arnold at one end and Liverpool surged forwards, the ball eventually falling to the Reds’ full-back who fizzed in a cross which Robertson headed home.
Just five minutes later though, we were all square again as Alisson came out to clear Harry Winks’ through ball but miscued his kick which allowed Son to stroke home into an empty net.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 77th minute when Robertson was dismissed for a wild challenge on Emerson Royal, referee Paul Tierney making the decision after checking the incident on the pitchside monitor on the advice of the VAR officials. But despite the numerical advantage, we couldn’t find that one final chance to snatch all three points and it ended honours even.
What a game to welcome us all back after a two-week break without any Spurs football! We hadn’t kicked a ball in anger since beating Norwich City at home on 5 December, having seen games against Burnley, Rennes, Brighton and Leicester all postponed. With our own squad having been hit by COVID-19 cases, we were forced into a number of changes, particularly in midfield as Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Tanguy Ndombele all started – and all produced excellent displays. Liverpool had their own issues too, missing the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, and perhaps the changes for both teams led to the game being so open and entertaining.
Liverpool saw two chances in the opening minute as Robertson headed just wide and Hugo Lloris saved James Milner’s 20-yard drive and our skipper was there again on 11 minutes to push away Alexander-Arnold’s powerful shot from 22 yards. But we responded well though and grew into the game, almost taking the lead when Royal’s low ball in from the right landed at the feet of Kane but Ibrahima Konate got across to block superbly. We weren’t to be denied seconds later though, Winks sliding in to win the ball from Naby Keita, it came to Ndombele who slid a pass in for Kane and this time he made no mistake, hitting right-footed past Alisson.
Minutes later came a glorious chance for 2-0, Kane breaking away down the right with Son bursting through the middle but Kane’s ball into the box forced Son to stretch to reach it and he couldn’t control his effort, knocking it wide of the post. At the other end, Lloris was again called into action, diving to his left to push away Keita’s shot before another golden chance went begging for us on the half-hour mark. Son led the charge and picked out Dele whose first time shot took the merest of touches off Alisson’s glove to send it just past the post.
It felt a big moment in the game and we were punished five minutes later as the Reds levelled. Ben Davies initially cut out Sadio Mane’s ball into the box but it fell to Robertson who clipped over a cross and Jota headed home from eight yards out. A breathless half came to an end with a chance at either end, Alexander-Arnold meeting Mane’s chipped cross full on the volley but Lloris stuck out a leg to prevent it going in, before Ryan Sessegnon latched onto Eric Dier’s superb raking pass, beat Alexander-Arnold down the byline and cut the ball back into the box but Kane’s effort was blocked and the half-time whistle blew.
There was no let-up in the tempo after the break, both sides going at it from an attacking perspective and we carved out another great chance 10 minutes after the break when Dier’s ball over the top found Dele, he squared it for Kane but Alisson denied him from close range.
The game continued to ebb and flow before another big moment. At one end, Dele was through on goal and went down under pressure from Alexander-Arnold but referee Tierney waved play on and Liverpool attacked. Lloris did superbly well to push the ball out from the first chance but it came to Alexander-Arnold who whipped the ball over and Robertson stooped to head home with 69 minutes on the clock. But we hit back immediately, Winks threading a ball in for Son and, as Alisson came out to clear, he miscued the ball and allowed Son to tap home into an empty net.
Back on level terms, it looked the like the game was going to swing our way when the visitors were reduced to 10 men. Robertson’s challenge on Royal out on the right flank was really clumsy, although he was initially given just a yellow card. But the referee was told by VAR to have another look at the tackle on the monitor and he decided to upgrade the card to a red and off went the Scottish full-back.
With the man extra, we had plenty of the ball in the final stages but just couldn’t work that one opening to create another big chance as Liverpool dropped back in numbers to shut down the space. Under the circumstances, both sides were arguably happy with the draw – and it was probably the right result. But what a game!
Reaction on Spurs TV
'With this type of performance, you have to win'
Antonio told Spurs TV after the game: "It was a good performance, a big effort, good commitment from all my players. (It's) a good point against Liverpool, they are, at this moment, one of the best teams in the world, and to play against them is not easy. This is one hand. On the other hand, and I’ve said it to the players, we have to be a bit disappointed, because we created many chances to score, and when we have the possibility to kill the game, we have to kill the game and get the three points. Up and down, good performance, good commitment, but when you have this type of performance, you have to win."
Spurs 2-2 Liverpool
Spurs (5-3-2): Lloris (c), Royal, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Sessegnon (Reguilon 86), Ndombele (Skipp 64), Winks, Dele (Lucas 81), Kane, Son. Substitutes (not used): Austin, Doherty, Tanganga, Rodon, Lo Celso, Bergwijn.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Konate, Robertson, Morton (Firmino 60), Keita, Milner (c), Salah, Jota (Gomez 90+2), Mane (Tsimikas 82). Substitutes (not used): Kelleher, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Gordon, Williams, Quansah.
Goals: Spurs – Kane 13, Son 74; Liverpool - Jota 35, Robertson 69.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Kane, Royal, Winks, Davies; Liverpool – Morton, Keita, Konate, Tsimikas.
Red card: Liverpool - Robertson.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Misty and light winds, six degrees.