Liverpool returned to form in impressive fashion as the Premier League champions secured a convincing victory at Tottenham Hotspur.
After a run of five league games without a win – four of those without a goal – Liverpool moved back into the top four as they discovered their cutting edge in style at the expense of an uninspiring Spurs.
Spurs, who lost striker Harry Kane to an ankle injury at half-time, had an early Son Heung-min strike ruled out for offside before Liverpool’s threat was rewarded with their first league goal in 482 minutes in first-half stoppage time.
Brazil striker Roberto Firmino took advantage of hesitation between Eric Dier and Hugo Lloris to tap in Sadio Mane’s low cross from close range.
France keeper Lloris was at fault again two minutes after the break when he pushed Mane’s shot into the path of right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who finished emphatically.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s 20-yard strike gave Spurs hope almost immediately but Liverpool were always in control of an entertaining second period.
After Mohamed Salah saw a goal disallowed by VAR for handball by Firmino in the build-up, Mane stole in at the far post to pounce on an error by the otherwise impressive Joe Rodon to secure the win for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Liverpool are now four points behind leaders Manchester City having played a game more.
Liverpool overcome more injury woe
This was an outstanding result and performance by Liverpool in the face of yet more central defensive injury problems.
Fabinho, who has excelled in an unfamiliar centre-back role in the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, was ruled out with what was described as a „minor muscle issue“ while the fragile Joel Matip lasted only 45 minutes on his return to the side.
It meant Liverpool’s central defensive partnership in the second half was captain Jordan Henderson and the inexperienced Nathaniel Phillips.
While that unlikely centre-back pairing coped well, it was at the other end where Liverpool were right back to their brilliant best, with Mane a constant threat while Firmino and Salah were full of menace and creation.
Their disappointing recent form has seen Liverpool drop down the Premier League table and also exit the FA Cup at Manchester United – but the manner of this display was an ominous warning to write off the champions at your peril.
Spurs flat – and now have Kane concerns
Jose Mourinho spent much of the second half bellowing instructions at his Spurs players in an attempt to spark a reaction – but it was to no avail as they produced a lacklustre performance.
Liverpool always carried a greater threat once Son’s early finish was ruled out for VAR but it was a moment of indecision between Dier and Lloris that opened the door for Firmino right at the end of the first half.
Then, straight after the break and moments following a warning from Mourinho after Spurs let Salah in for a chance, Alexander-Arnold scored to give Liverpool a two-goal advantage.
Son threatened occasionally on the break but even Hojbjerg’s blockbuster from the edge of the box failed to inspire Spurs, who looked devoid of ideas long before the final whistle.
The lack of threat was perhaps less surprising after the loss of Kane, who twice received treatment for ankle knocks before eventually succumbing to the second one on his left ankle which was sustained in an innocuous challenge with Henderson.
Mourinho suggested after the match Kane may miss „a few weeks“ and on this evidence Spurs will struggle to be anywhere near their best without their talisman and leading marksman.
Why Liverpool love playing Spurs – every day of the week
- Liverpool have won six consecutive league matches, and three consecutive away league matches, against Spurs for the first time in their history
- Liverpool have now beaten Tottenham in the top-flight on all seven days of the week, becoming just the third side to have done so after Everton and West Ham
- Jose Mourinho has now lost six home league games in charge of Tottenham, more than he has at any of his previous clubs
- All three of Liverpool’s Premier League away wins this season have come in London, with the Reds also winning 2-0 at Chelsea in September and 7-0 at Crystal Palace in December
- Roberto Firmino’s opener ended Liverpool’s run of 482 minutes and 93 shots without a Premier League goal, since Sadio Mane scored against West Brom last month
- Firmino has scored in five of his last six Premier League appearances against Tottenham, including each of his last three against them away from home
- Since the start of last season, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has been involved in more Premier League goals than any other defender in the competition (21 – five goals, 16 assists)
- Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s strike was his first goal for Tottenham in all competitions, in what was his 30th appearance for the north London side
Liverpool travel to West Ham – the team they leapfrogged in the table by beating Spurs – on Sunday (16:30 GMT). Tottenham are also back in action on Sunday, when they visit Brighton (19:15 GMT).