LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah’s 50th goal for Liverpool at Anfield, in only his 57th game there, kept Liverpool flying six points clear at the top of the Premier League but Tottenham made them work hard for a 2-1 win.
The last time these teams had met was in last season’s Champions League Final when Liverpool won 2-0 and Tottenham felt they been unfortunate with an early penalty award. Liverpool had gone from strength to strength since then while Tottenham had struggled with a hangover from that defeat.
In Madrid it was Liverpool who scored almost immediately. This time it was Tottenham. Liverpool lost possession in midfield, Son Heung-min’s shot ricocheted against a post off the head of Dejan Lovren and Harry Kane dived forward to head in. His sixth league goal of the season was officially timed at 47sec.
Kane always enjoys playing against Liverpool. He has been directly involved in eight goals in 10 league appearances against them, scoring six and setting up two. Tottenham’s captain is the third opposition player to have scored inside 60 seconds at Anfield in the league game after Leicester’s Matt Elliott in 1997 and Everton’s Olivier Dacourt in 1999.
Tottenham remained dangerous on the transition and Kane was centimetres away from a second goal after Eriksen jabbed the ball across the face of goal in front of the Kop.
But almost all the attacking effort was coming from Liverpool. Spurs’ goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga was having the game of his life. He made fine reflex saves from Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Virgil van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold but was fortunate when Sadio Mane headed wide in front of an open goal.
Danny Rose was also fortunate, in his case to be shown only a yellow card rather than red after taking out Jordan Henderson. It was Rose’s fifth card of the season so he will miss next weekend’s trip back to Merseyside to play Everton.
Tottenham had not won an away game in the league since last January and their prospects of surviving a further Liverpool bombardment appeared remote. Liverpool had a proud record to defend. They had not lost at home in the league since going down to Crystal Palace in April 2017.
The hectic pace continued from the restart. Gazzaniga made yet another save, this time from Firmino while Son raced away to hit the crossbar after rounding keeper Alisson in a high-speed Tottenham counter-attack.
That stroke of luck proved crucial as Liverpool went back on to the attack and Henderson equalised with only his second goal in 89 appearances. It was also his first at Anfield since December 2015. Liverpool’s captain struck from an angle after Firmino and Rose both failed to reach a chip from Fabinho.
Liverpool’s pressure earned further reward in the 75th minute when Mane was felled by Serge Aurier and Salah converted the penalty to Gazzaniga’s left. Spurs were furious with referee Anthony Taylor, claiming that Mane had dived. This was Salah’s six goal in seven games against Tottenham in all competitions.