Liverpool continued their unbeaten streak in the Premier League after a Roberto Firmino goal proved enough for the Reds to edge past Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur side 1-0 in London.
Jürgen Klopp made one change from the side that dispatched Sheffield United in the Reds’ previous Premier League outing. James Milner, who was injured in the FA Cup victory over Everton, was replaced in the starting lineup by the returning Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The game got off to an exciting start with Liverpool almost taking the lead within the opening five minutes.
Roberto Firmino got in behind the Spurs backline before cutting in and looking to curl his shot into the far left post of Paulo Gazzaniga. The Brazilian’s shot deflected into the path of Chamberlain who directed an attempt goalwards only to see it deflect off the post and back into Tottenham possession.
Following the close chance, the game continued in its open fashion with the home side threatening on the counterattack and looking to keep tight and limit the space whenever Liverpool had possession.
As the game progressed through to the halfway point of the first 45, Klopp’s men began to put their stamp on the game, confidently keeping possession and working the ball round the Spurs low block as they went in search of the opener.
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Klopp’s men again came close through Virgil van Dijk following a brilliant ball to the back post by Jordan Henderson. The Dutchman rose highest amongst a queue of two other Reds but could not beat Gazzaniga who seemingly saved the header with ease.
As the game continued Liverpool increased the pressure, however, despite the improving link up play the Reds were unable to find an opener as the Tottenham rear guard held strong.
With this being said, the endless waves of red pressure eventually blew the cracks in the Slurs defence wide open through Firmino in the 37th minute.
A brave header by Henderson kept the attack alive in the Spurs area as Salah took control. The Egyptian flicked the ball into the path of the Brazilian who skipped past debutant Japhet Tanganga before powering the ball into the corner of the Spurs net.
A quick VAR check for a possible handball by Henderson in the build up saw no wrong doing by the Reds and the goal stood. Liverpool a goal to the good.
Despite the lack of handball, however, the goal remained somewhat controversial as, in the build up, a throw in was seemingly wrongly awarded to the Reds.
The Reds should have doubled their lead following their goal as Salah pounced on a loose ball before driving at the opposition defence. The Egyptian held his ground against Davinson Sánchez and cut in before flashing his effort just wide of the post.
Following Salah’s attempt, the Reds continued to knock the ball about, keeping possession as they comfortably wound down the clock until half time.
The Reds started the second half in the same vein to which they ended the first. Keeping the ball well and in search of another goal.
Despite Liverpool’s domination, Tottenham showed they were still a threat on the counter-attack as the Reds required an intervention from both van Dijk and Alisson to deny the equaliser.
Dele Alli picked up the loose ball near the halfway line and drove unchallenged towards the Liverpool area. The Englishman arrived into the Liverpool box before a last minute van Dijk slide tackle dispossessed him. The ball then found its way to Serge Aurier who stung the hands of Alisson from the edge of the area.
Following the Tottenham attempt, Liverpool continued to keep possession as they patiently attacked their opponents, looking particularly dangerous down the left flank with Andy Robertson and Mané.
With this being said Liverpool looked far from secure in their lead as Klopp’s men almost became the architects to their own downfall as the game approached the final 15.
Gini Wijnaldum was caught taking his time on the ball as Tottenham stole possession and broke with Son Heung-min, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura at van Dijk and Gomez.
Lamela worked it in behind Gomez to Son who cut in onto his stronger right foot as he looked to curl it into Alisson’s top right corner. Fortunately for Klopp and co, the Korean was far from his composed self as he blasted his effort over the crossbar.
As the game ticked over into the final ten minutes, Klopp brought on Divock Origi as the match suddenly opened up and the Reds began to lose control.
With Liverpool’s win far from secure, Tottenham increased the pressure and threw more and more men forward with Giovani Lo Celso almost equalising for Mourniho’s men.
A perfect ball curled across goal found the Argentine midfielder alone at the back post. Fortunately for Liverpool the ball bounced in front of the midfielder who directed the ball just wide of Alisson’s net.
Following the Tottenham attempt Liverpool continued to defend as a unit and managed to hold out for the remainder of the match to secure all three points.
Klopp now has until January 19 to prepare for the arrival of Manchester United at Anfield.