Liverpool 1-1 Tottenham (Diaz 74′ | They are 56′)
Tottenham dealt a heavy blow to Liverpool’s hopes of winning the Premier League title with a dogged 1-1 draw at Anfield.
The result takes Liverpool to the top of the table but leaves them level on points with Manchester City having played a game more.
The Reds enjoyed the majority of possession and chances at Anfield on Saturday night but could only clinch a draw after Son Heung-min’s 20th Premier League goal of the season gave the visitors the lead in the second half.
Luis Diaz’s equalizer at least keeps Liverpool’s quadruple dreams alive but champions City can go three points clear with three games to play if they beat Newcastle at the Etihad on Sunday.
The result also leaves Tottenham trailing Arsenal in the race for the top four. The Gunners will have the chance to go four points clear ahead of the north London derby in midweek when they host Leeds on Sunday.
Liverpool dominated a high quality first half but they met their match in Antonio Conte’s well organized defensive line, with Cristian Romero marshalling what at times looked like an impenetrable white wall.
That was until Ryan Sessegnon nearly teed up Salah for an easy tap-in. Much to the wing-back’s relief he was saved by the fingertips of his captain Hugo Lloris.
Aside from that lapse Liverpool were restricted to speculative efforts from a distance with Mo Salah fluffing his shot, Trent Alexander-Arnold firing another well over the bar and Lloris saving from Luis Diaz.
Virgil van Dijk had the best chance of breaking the deadlock but could only find the crossbar after losing his marker at a corner and winning a free header.
Kane looked dangerous for Spurs but he saw far too little of the ball in a high quality first half, with the suffocating Liverpool press stopping the away team from building any rhythm.
Spurs broke down the other end and struck the post through Pierre Emile Hojbjerg’s fizzing low hit to relieve some of the pressure built up by Liverpool.
The second half started in much the same manner until Son Heung-min’s opener stunned Anfield into silence.
The move started with a brilliant diagonal from Lloris out to Emerson Royal, who then lofted the ball into Kane.
The England captain took the ball down, shimmied away from Alexander-Arnold and played in Sessegnon, who kept his cool and squared the ball across to Son for an easy tap-in.
At this point Tottenham had their tails up, with Son again going close and Kulusevki then stinging the palms of Alisson with a long-range effort.
Klopp ran the chances, sending on Kostas Tsimikas and Diogo Jota for Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson, as the Reds chased an equaliser.
Taking a man out of midfield gave Liverpool an extra attacking threat but also left the game more stretched.
It took a slice of luck for Liverpool to get their first goal, with Diaz’s long-range effort taking a big deflection of Rodrigo Bentancur and flying into the bottom corner.
With Anfield in full voice Liverpool pressed for the winner but Spurs refused to yield, with Sanchez blocking Salah and Lloris catching everything that came his way.
Hojbjerg then had a chance to win it at the death but headed back across the box to Kane when he should have gone for a goal.
Liverpool vs Tottenham player ratings
- Alison 6
- A-Arnold 7
- Robertson 7
- Konate 6
- Van Dijk 7
- Henderson 7
- Fabinho 6
- Thiago 7
- Salah 7
- hand 5
- Diaz 8
- cries 8
- rosemary 8
- Say 7
- Davids 7
- Royal 6
- Sessegnon 7
- Bentancur 6
- Kulusevsky 6
- Kane 8
- they are 8
- Sanchez 5
- Winks 5
- Bergwijn 5
Klopp: ‘I’m really happy with the performance’
Liverpool boss Klopp told BT Sport: “I’m really happy with the performance and proud of the mentality we showed against an incredibly good opponent with a game plan.
“I thought a few things today were on a different level, like the counter press was absolutely outstanding.
“But then they scored our goal and we had to keep our calm and increase the pressure, so that is a massive challenge, but we did and scored the equaliser.
“Obviously not the result we wanted, but the performance I wanted, so from that point of view I am fine.”
They hail the Tottenham gameplan
‘A nearly perfect day for Spurs’
Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler on BT Sport: They [Spurs] have had a week to prepare. They knew what they were going to do, they were going to come here and defend and maybe get Liverpool on counter-attacks. It’s been nearly the perfect day for them. If they get that goal late on [through Hojbjerg]it is the perfect day because the gameplan has worked to perfection.
“I think they’re probably good value for it. I think Liverpool huffed and puffed. They had lots and lots of energy. They had lots and lots of shots on goal but Spurs had the better chances. Let’s not hide behind that fact.”
River Ferdinand: “There’s different ways to win a football match. You can’t all win it in the perfect scenario, the way Manchester City and Liverpool are blowing teams away, controlling the game totally and just strangling the life out of teams.
“Sometimes you just have to say, you know what, people are going to do it differently and respect that. The way Spurs played today I thought they were really good value for it.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.