Own goal moves Liverpool to table top, defeat Tottenham 2-1

Toby Alderweireld scores an own goal
Toby Alderweireld scores an own goal
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Toby Alderweireld’s late own goal gave Liverpool a priceless victory and put them back on top of the Premier League.

Visitors Tottenham looked on course to earn a point – and even wasted chances to go in front – after Lucas Moura deservedly equalised Roberto Firmino’s first-half header for the home side.

Liverpool were on the brink of losing ground to Manchester City – 2-0 winners at Fulham on Saturday – until the title race took another dramatic twist in the closing moments in front of the Kop.

Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris failed to hold Mohamed Salah’s routine far-post header and the ball ricocheted into the net off Alderweireld.

It was sheer elation for Liverpool, who are now two points clear of City having played a game more, but misery for Spurs, who are in a real fight for a top-four place and were left to regret Moussa Sissoko’s glaring miss when through on goal minutes earlier.

Liverpool stage another late show

Liverpool are simply refusing to be denied in their Premier League title battle with Manchester City – no matter how late they have to leave it to get the three points.

They were fortunate victors here but once again they dug deep, rode their luck, and were the beneficiaries of another dramatic conclusion at Anfield. And not for the first time this season, a visiting goalkeeper was culpable.

Everton’s Jordan Pickford and Crystal Palace’s Julian Speroni have both had nightmare moments in front of the Kop that have resulted in tight home wins; now Lloris can add his name to the list of those who might be privately cursed by Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions.

There was little degree of difficulty about the save the France World Cup winner needed to make from Salah’s header, which was on target but hardly laced with menace, in the final minute of normal time.

He fumbled the routine save and it was the unfortunate Alderweireld who got the final touch. Liverpool had the win, just as it looked as if they would have to settle for a point and hand the title advantage to City.

And yet credit to Klopp’s side. Just as they did by winning 2-1 with a late penalty at Fulham in their last league game, they refused to lose the belief that they could win. They did so in a game where their opponents were the stronger side for much of the second half.

As Klopp went through his mandatory fist-pumping in front of the home support, you could sense just how significant this late show might prove to be.

Spurs miss killer instinct

Tottenham’s players slumped to the ground in anguish at the final whistle; they clearly felt they had been denied their just reward.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side may actually have been unhappy with a point but suffered for their own flaws in front of goal, especially when Sissoko missed that huge chance with the score level and Spurs on top.

There was not a shred of conviction as he bore down on Liverpool keeper Alisson. Instead there was almost a desperation to get rid of the ball to the adjacent Son Heung-min, but the responsibility was his and he choked by hoisting a hopeless finish well over the top.

Dele Alli was then inches off target and as long as this potent Liverpool side were in contention there was always the threat of that last-ditch hammer blow.

Spurs, after a tame first half, were outstanding in the second, but they are now without a Premier League win since 10 February and are embroiled in the fight for a top four place – with a Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City to come.

There is so much quality in this side but they wasted a huge chance here and ended up with an unwanted statistic to their name; it is the first time they have lost four consecutive Premier League away matches since a sequence under Harry Redknapp between December 2008 and January 2009.

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And there is now only a single point separating Spurs in third and Chelsea in sixth.

Man of the match – Andrew Robertson (Liverpool).

‘There are 500 ways to win a game’ – what they said

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, speaking to Sky Sports: “I was relatively calm [after the winning goal] because it was a surprise. I saw the header and nothing else. I had no clue how the ball went in.

“In the first half, we had fantastic chances and scored a wonderful goal. In the second half, we looked heavy and couldn’t really play. They changed only a little bit. We didn’t adapt well. After Spurs’ goal, we started playing again more.

“We compete with the best team in the world [Manchester City] and play against one of best in the world in Tottenham – it is a tough task.

“City last year were champions and are still pretty good. We have to fight like crazy. The crowd was outstanding. They were really here to push us and at the end it helped. It is only positive. I said there are 500 ways to win a football game and today was slightly ugly. Who cares?

“We compete with the best team in world for one position and that is really hard.”

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “We are all disappointed but at the same time we have to be happy with our second-half performance.

“We were a little bit unlucky to concede the second goal when we should have been ahead because we dominated Liverpool, who are a very good team.

“No one wants to lose but it’s a different defeat than the ones we suffered against Southampton or Burnley. We cannot say it’s positive but now we start from zero and we can achieve what we want.

“I was telling the players in the changing room we have seven games and we are in top four and need to compete. It’s a mini league and, playing the way we played today, I think we can achieve the top four.”

Tottenham toil at Anfield – the stats

  • Liverpool extended their unbeaten home league run to 37 games (W27 D10) – the joint-second longest such streak in Premier League history (level with Manchester City), behind only Chelsea’s 86-match run between 2004-2008.
  • Liverpool’s total of 79 points is their best tally after 32 matches of a top-flight season (adjusting to three points for a win), surpassing the 76 they had in 1987-88.
  • Tottenham have now lost 17 of their 27 Premier League visits to Anfield (W2 D8); only at Old Trafford (21) have they lost more away games in the competition.
  • Liverpool have scored three winning goals in the 90th minute or later in the Premier League this season, their second-most in a single campaign after 2008-09 (four).
  • Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld is the first player to score a match-winning own goal in the 90th minute or later of a Premier League game since Troy Deeney for Watford against Manchester United in November 2015.
  • This was Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino’s 150th defeat as a manager in all competitions, seven of which have been inflicted by Liverpool. Only against Chelsea (nine) has he suffered more defeats.
  • Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino has scored seven goals in his past six Premier League games at Anfield, as many as in his previous 25 beforehand.
  • Andy Robertson has nine assists for Liverpool in the Premier League this season; Andy Hinchliffe (1994-95) and Leighton Baines (2010-11) are the only defenders to have had more in a single campaign (both 11).
  • Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen is just the second player to assist 10 or more Premier League goals in four successive seasons, after David Beckham for Manchester United between 1997-98 and 2000-01.

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