Liverpool beat Tottenham 3-1 to return to winning ways
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane each claimed a goal and an assist as Liverpool recorded a 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur to go fourth in the table.
After a run of five league games without a win – four of those without a goal – Liverpool moved back into the top four as they discovered their cutting edge in style at the expense of an uninspiring Spurs.
Spurs, who lost striker Harry Kane to an ankle injury at half-time, had an early Son Heung-min strike ruled out for offside before Liverpool’s threat was rewarded with their first league goal in 482 minutes in the first-half stoppage time.
Brazil striker Roberto Firmino took advantage of hesitation between Eric Dier and Hugo Lloris to tap in Sadio Mane’s low cross from close range.
France keeper Lloris was at fault again two minutes after the break when he pushed Mane’s shot into the path of right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who finished emphatically.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s 20-yard strike gave Spurs hope almost immediately but Liverpool were always in control of an entertaining second period.
After Mohamed Salah saw a goal disallowed by VAR for handball by Firmino in the build-up, Mane stole in at the far post to pounce on an error by the otherwise impressive Joe Rodon to secure the win for Jurgen Klopp‘s side.
Liverpool are now four points behind leaders Manchester City having played a game more.
Spurs: 31 Jan v Brighton (A)
Liverpool: 31 Jan v West Ham (A)
Referee: Martin Atkinson. Assistants: Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakis. Fourth official: Kevin Friend. VAR: Jonathan Moss. Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan.
Liverpool overcome more injury woe
This was an outstanding result and performance by Liverpool in the face of yet more central defensive injury problems.
Fabinho, who has excelled in an unfamiliar centre-back role in the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, was ruled out with what was described as a “minor muscle issue” while the fragile Joel Matip lasted only 45 minutes on his return to the side.
It meant Liverpool’s central defensive partnership in the second half was captain Jordan Henderson and the inexperienced Nathaniel Phillips.
While that unlikely centre-back pairing coped well, it was at the other end where Liverpool were right back to their brilliant best, with Mane a constant threat while Firmino and Salah were full of menace and creation.
Their disappointing recent form has seen Liverpool drop down the Premier League table and also exit the FA Cup at Manchester United – but the manner of this display was an ominous warning to write off the champions at your peril.