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Hard-earned point at Anfield - match report and reaction

Liverpool 1-1 Spurs

Sat 07 May 2022, 21:48|Tottenham Hotspur

Heung-Min Son’s 20th Premier League goal of the season earned us a point at Anfield on Saturday evening after a courageous performance of real heart and character.

Liverpool, battling with Manchester City for the title and with just two league defeats all season, needed a deflected Luis Diaz goal with 16 minutes remaining to salvage a point and, although we were put under intense pressure at times, we defended superbly and had our fair share of counter-attacks which could have yielded more goals.

We took the lead 11 minutes into the second half with a wonderfully-worked goal. Hugo Lloris clipped a 60-yard pass out to Emerson Royal, he controlled and switched it out to Harry Kane down the right who moved infield, slid a pass in to Ryan Sessegnon and he squared across the six-yard for Son to tap home.

Liverpool ramped up the pressure but were fortunate with their equaliser as Luis Diaz’s 22-yard right-foot shot flicked off the toe of Rodrigo Bentancur, wrong-footed Lloris and nestled in the bottom corner.

The closing minutes saw the home side pump plenty of balls into our box but we were equal to all they threw at us and could have nicked it in the final seconds when Harry Winks crossed to the back post where Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Steven Bergwijn were waiting, but neither could capitalise and we had to settle for a point. How big a point it could be remains to be seen...

A battling performance

With so much at stake for both sides, a point might not do either team any favours in their particular targets this season but, from our perspective, this was an excellent performance which was carried out to perfection and so nearly saw us pick up all three points. Liverpool were always going to put us under pressure, as they do to every team at Anfield, but we withstood the majority of it and played some decent counter-attacking football at times. On a few occasions, one better final pass would have created better opportunities.

There was a clear pattern to the game which was set very early, Liverpool having plenty of the ball as we dropped into a 5-4-1 formation out of possession and looked to hit them on the counter whenever the ball fell our way. Sadio Mane fired straight at Lloris on three minutes as the home side started with intention, but our counter-attack strategy was always a danger and, on 12 minutes, Hojbjerg broke down the right and found Kane who took a touch and hit a shot but Jordan Henderson was back to block. Virgil Van Dijk headed well wide with a good chance from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner before the Reds’ full-back flashed a shot well over and six minutes before the break, another Alexander-Arnold corner was met again by Van Dijk, whose header glanced off the crossbar.

Both sides went close as the first half drew to an end. First Diaz and Mane played a one-two and Diaz hit a right-foot shot which Lloris pushed away and seconds later, we hit Liverpool with a swift break which ended with Hojbjerg drilling a low shot that flicked off the outside of Alisson’s far post.

There was no change to the game in the opening 10 minutes of the second period as Liverpool dominated possession but they didn’t really work Lloris and instead, we hit them with a sucker punch. It was such a good goal as well, from back to front in the blink of an eye with Son the delighted recipient. We nearly added a second moments later with another break but Son couldn’t convert at the far post.

Liverpool had to step up the pressure and pushed us back but we stood firm, throwing bodies on the line and getting in important touches and tackles to prevent the Reds from opening us up. Nothing illustrated that more than in the 73rd minute when Ben Davies produced an incredible block to deny Mo Salah from just inside the area. Their equaliser a minute later was tough to take as Diaz’s deflected effort just took a touch to send it past Lloris and Liverpool threw bodies forward in the closing stages in search of the winner. But Lloris barely had a save to make with the home side having just three shots on target – the same as us.

Landmark for Son

Son reached the 20-goal mark in the Premier League for the first time in his career with his strike at Anfield, beating his previous best of 17 from last season. He’s now two behind Mo Salah in the race for the Golden Boot and has now scored 90 top-flight goals for us.

The draw means we have closed the gap on fourth-placed Arsenal to just one point, with the Gunners playing their game in hand against Leeds United on Sunday. Next up for us is the north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday, kick-off 7.45pm.

Reaction on Spurs TV

'We created problems for Liverpool'

It was put to Antonio Conte on Spurs TV afterwards that the players didn't seem happy with a share of the spoils, given the circumstances. He replied: "It’s a good signal, because the players understood, they felt on the pitch that at the end, we lost the chance to get three important points. At the same time, I think they have to be delighted with the performance. I asked before the game for them to be strong defensively, to pay great attention. We prepared the game really well, in my opinion, and it was a pity to concede a goal from a deflection. Also, I asked with the ball to be brave, to show courage and personality, and every time we did this, we created problems for Liverpool. We have to try to continue to improve with the ball. It’s not easy to overcome the Liverpool pressure, but every time we did this, we created big problems for them."

Liverpool 1-1 Spurs

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson (Tsimikas 64), Henderson (c) (Jota 64), Fabinho (Keita 88), Thiago, Salah, Mane, Diaz. Substitutes (not used): Kelleher, Matip, Gomez, Milner, Jones, Origi.

Spurs (3-4-3): Lloris (c), Romero, Dier, Davies, Royal, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Sessegnon (Sanchez 78), Kulusevski (Winks 85), Son (Bergwijn 90+1), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gollini, Rodon, Craig, White, Lucas, Scarlett.

Match data

Goals: Spurs – Son 56; Liverpool – Diaz 74.

Yellow cards: Liverpool – Tsimikas, Fabinho, Keita; Spurs – Davies, Sessegnon.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Venue: Anfield, Liverpool.

Weather: Light cloud, moderate breeze, 13 degrees.