Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Liverpool
A cool first-half strike by Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool three more points in a win over Spurs, but it was much, much more than that.
The Premier League Tottenham vs Liverpool Saturday tea-time clash was a tasty a treat as you’d hope for. At times, Liverpool were as good as ever going forward, but Spurs hung in there and had two great chances to level late on.
The Reds hung on for a massive win which takes them 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League, breaking record after record.
Highlights of the game
The Spurs defence has been inconsistent of late, so Jose Mourinho gave a surprise debut to academy defender Japhet Tanganga, and what a start he made to the game.
After Liverpool struggled to clear a Christian Eriksen corner, the Reds broke at pace. Firmino collected a ball over the top before cutting inside, but Tanganga was there to make a brilliant block. The rebound landed at the feet of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but his low drive smashed against the post and away to safety.
The young defender will be taking a good look at the Tottenham vs Liverpool highlights tonight, and who can blame him?
Spurs striker Heung-Min Son stepped up to the plate when Harry Kane was injured last season and he looked ready for the task again in the early exchanges. He managed to evade a challenge from Joe Gomez before curling his shot wide.
Sadio Mane and Mo Salah have been in devastating form recently. The two almost combined to open the scoring, but Davinson Sanchez cleared before Salah could pounce.
And then, Paulo Gazzaniga made a fantastic save to deny Virgil van Dijk after the towering defender met a Henderson cross with a bullet header.
But there was little the Spurs stopper could do when Firmino took a pass from Salah and evaded a challenge from Tanganga before firing home.
And Liverpool almost made it two when Salah nicked the ball off Sanchez, but his shot flew inches wide of the post.
Spurs started the second half on the front foot, and when Lucas Moura burst into the box he appeared to be impeded by Jordan Henderson. But he stayed on his feet and sliced his shot wide.
Liverpool fought back and a flowing move found Firmino in space some 15 yards out, but this time he curled his shot into Gazzaniga’s hands.
As the game picked up pace, the crowd responded. Son had a good run, easily beating two defenders but his shot skidded wide. He then had a glorious chance to equalise as Liverpool gave the ball away around 30 yards out. Moura managed to put Son in, but with the goal at his mercy, he leant back and fired over.
And Spurs fans couldn’t believe they weren’t level when Serge Aurier put in a beautiful cross which Giovani Lo Celso met almost too well as his first-time effort flew just wide with Alisson stranded.
Spurs pressed for an equaliser, but at the other end, Divock Origi showed quick feet to beat two defenders and shoot but Gazzaniga got down well to save.
Son had one more chance in the dying seconds but Alisson saved and Liverpool marched on to victory.
Spurs had 14 shots to Liverpool’s 13, but the Reds had seven to Spurs’ four on target.
Liverpool’s 20 wins and one draw is the best start ever in the Premier League or any of the big European leagues, and the Reds are now 38 games unbeaten.
Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Sheffield United made it 29 games in a row in which the Reds have scored and they came within inches of continuing that run in the second minute, but Bobby Firmino made it 30 soon enough.
This is also the Reds’ joint-best scoring streak at the start of a season since they managed 21 in the 1933/34 season.
Next week, we have one of, if not the biggest rivalries in the Premier League renewed when Liverpool host Manchester United at Anfield. You’d think that would be a good bet for another home win, but then Manchester City fell into that trap in December, losing 1-2 at home to the Red Devils.
Manchester United had an impressive 4-0 home win over Norwich City today and will be up for this, make no mistake about that!
Meanwhile, Spurs have an FA Cup replay against Championship side Middlesbrough to contend with before making the short trip to Watford next weekend.
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