Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur was billed as the highlight Premier League clash of the weekend and it didn’t disappoint as four goals and two penalties were amongst the highlights from Sunday’s clash at Anfield.
Reds winger Mohamed Salah capitalised on a rare Spurs error to give the hosts the lead in the 3rd minute as Jurgen Klopp’s men dominated the first-half.
The Reds were, however, unable to add to the opener and Spurs substitute Victor Wanyama’s wonder strike would level proceedings before Salah got the Anfield crowd to their feet with a sensational solo goal to seemingly win it for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Harry Kane, who had just missed a penalty, would then get a chance to make amends deep in injury-time with another spot-kick and the tie ended with both sides going home with a share of the spoils.
A tie such as this was bound to have multitude of talking points, but The Statesman has picked the five most pressing ones:
Jurgen Klopp’s big gamble backfires
Big, big call by Jurgen Klopp to start Dejan Lovren with Virgil van Dijk on Sunday, especially after the Croatian’s shambolic display against Spurs during their 4-1 loss earlier in the season.
And did the Croatian vindicate his manager? For 83 minutes, the answer was a yes but just as Anfield were beginning to think their beloved Reds would hold out, Lovren, took one large swing at the ball and got the slightest of touches to play Harry Kane onside as Dele Alli looked to link up with his teammate.
Loris Karius rushed out of his goal and brought the striker down in the box and while the German would save Lovren and his bacon with a save, the psychological damage was done.
Lovren, Liverpool’s record defensive signing before Virgil van Dijk, has never looked comfortable at Anfield and perhaps his time in Merseyside is coming to an end as the Reds faithful have definitely tired of his error-strewn performances.
Penalty decisions: Contentious, but ultimately correct?
Tottenham Hotspur were awarded two controversial decisions and while both could have gone either way, the general consensus was that match referee Jonathan Moss got both decisions right.
The first one was the aforementioned mistake by Dejan Lovren to clear the ball, when Dele Alli attempted to play an offside Harry Kane.
The Croatian got a slight, but definite touch and Kane went through on goal and as he attempted to round the oncoming Loris Karius, went down as he felt he was clipped by the German custodian.
So the first penalty decision had two incidents. The first one was far clearer as Lovren’s touch enabled Kane to be ‘onside’ while the second was a bit greyer as slow-motion replays didn’t flatter Spurs’ striker, who appeared to go down too easily.
However, if one watches it in real-time, the speed at which everything happens must be taken into account and in such instances, even the slightest of contact can throw you off balance.
Which brings us to the second penalty decision, deep in injury-time. Virgil van Dijk, with eyes for the ball, attempts to clear but catches the calf of Spurs winger Erik Lamela. The Argentine, somewhat unsurprisingly, crumples in a heap and Moss points to the spot.
The match official, once again, got the decision spot on as while it was not an intentional foul, it was one nonetheless as the Dutchman didn’t get anything of the ball but got something of the man and the laws of the game are pretty simple in such cases.
Winners of the tie? Manchester United and Chelsea
After stumbling in recent weeks, Manchester United got their season back on track with a win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday and would have been hoping the Reds and the Lilywhites somehow played out a stalemate at Anfield.
For a draw suited the third-placed Red Devils, who are now five points clear of Liverpool and seven of Spurs.
The race for the top-four is still very much on but both sets of supporters will feel this was more of a case of two points dropped rather than a point earned.
To complicate matters, Chelsea, who are fourth, travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford on Monday and could go two points clear of the Reds if they win their game in hand.
Harry Kane: Insatiable desire for goals continues
Most strikers would have been deflated after missing a late penalty and spurning a chance to equalise in such a high-pressure game but Kane is no ordinary striker and commendably grabbed the ball for the second, deep in injury-time.
Kane didn’t miss on his second attempt, finally reaching the 100 Premier League milestone as his incredible story continues and the striker’s remarkable consistency, coupled with his tunnel vision with respects to seeing the net bulge are what set him apart from the rest.
If he stays at Tottenham, Alan Shearer’s record is bound to tumble, but if reports from Spain are to be believed, a move to the Spanish capital may be on the cards sooner, rather than later.
Spurs fans and aficionados of the Premier League best enjoy the goalscoring machine while you still can!
Is Mohamed Salah the Egyptian Messi?
No, this is not a parody.
The Egyptian’s second goal, one which will be on the highlight reels for a long time, struck immediate parallels with Barcelona’s iconic No.10.
Of course, Messi being, arguably, greatest player ever, is in a league of his own, but even the biggest Barcelona fan cant deny the uncanny resemblance (in terms of playing style) especially w
Both are left-footers, not lacking for pace, able to dribble past multiple defenders in tight spots before calmly slotting past the onrushing keeper.
Watch this space for Salah doesn’t look like he will stop at 20 league goals and is widely-tipped to breach the 30-goal mark with 12 games remaining. The next Reds player to depart for the sunny environs of the La Liga?